Sites of the Peaceful Revolution in and around Leipzig
Commemorative Spots in the Public Sphere
In order to keep the memory of the Peaceful Revolution in Leipzig alive, and to make clear its important role in creating the democracy enjoyed today, the City of Leipzig combines elements of a living memory culture with the visible consolidation of public remembrance.
Monuments mainly found in close vicinity and with direct reference to the authentic locations of the Peaceful Revolution, bear witness to the events of 1989.
Apps on the Topic
"Leipzig '89" is a multi-language audio guide, which leads you to 20 stele sites within the city of Leipzig. Significant actions, which contributed to the overthrowing of the SED dictatorship took place at these locations. The app can be downloaded for free in many languages onto iOS or Android systems.
At 25 locations within Leipzig's city centre, there are so-called time windows, where it is possible to interactively merge historical photos with current images seen through the lens of a tablet or smartphone camera and to compare and contrast the two points in time: In this way, the app turns your smartphone into a pocket-sized time machine.
Besides this interactive access, the app also preserves a treasure trove of around 300 additional artefacts. These exclusively original Stasi files, leaflets on the civilian movement and contemporary video recordings enable a multimedia view of a central aspect of the city of Leipzig and its contemporary history.
Through integrated audio guides and a navigation function, which directs users to time windows, the city of Leipzig is turned into a virtual history trail which acts as the point of intersection between the past and the present. The app can be downloaded for free onto iOS and Android in German and English.
Leipzig has radically changed since the Peaceful Revolution of 1989. In the "MDR time travel" app, you can select different sites in the city yourself. Alternatively, you can be led through the city by a prominent character. The app can be downloaded for free onto iOS and Android in German and English.
St. Nicholas Church Square: Light Installation and Fountain
The prayers for peace and Monday Demonstrations turned Leipzig's St. Nicholas Church into a global symbol of the Peaceful Revolution of 1989. In 2003, the design of the St. Nicholas Church Square was completed, with the support of the "Living City" foundation. The basis for this was a competition, sponsored by the Cultural Foundation of Leipzig with the City of Leipzig and the "Living City" foundation.
In addition to the Nicholas Pillar, erected in 1999, the core pieces include the light installation by the artist from Leipzig, Tilo Schulz with 144 colourful glass cubes embedded in the pavement, and a granite fountain designed by David Chipperfield (London). The random illumination of one light cube at a time in the art piece, "Public Light", represents the slow development of the peaceful gatherings and, thus, commemorates the significance of the public sphere as a platform for allowing responsible citizens the freedom of expression.
The granite fountain, elegant and simple, aims to maintain the square in front of St. Nicholas as a place for communication and tranquillity throughout the year. The overflowing water symbolises the thirst for freedom of the masses, who peacefully demonstrated here in the Autumn of 1989.
St. Nicholas Church Square: Nicholas Pillar
Following the prayer for peace in the St. Nicholas Church, the protest in 1989 conquered the public sphere.
The replica of a pillar, crowned with palm fronds from the nave of the St. Nicholas Church, was the winner of an artistic competition for ideas on the design of the St. Nicholas Church Square, and has stood there since 1999, commemorating the starting point of Leipzig's Monday Demonstrations.
The sculptor from Leipzig, Markus Gläser, built the piece of art based on an idea from an artist from Leipzig, Andreas Stötzner. Two thirds of the resources required for the implementation of the idea were generated by Leipzig's citizens, companies and institutions.
"Runde Ecke" Memorial Museum: Commemorative Plaque, "Stasi"
A cast of the original plaque from the former Stasi Headquarters for Leipzig points towards the building on Dittrichring 24, from which the Stasi monitored and spied on Leipzig and its citizens for almost 40 years.
The plaque with the inscription, "The Stasi Headquarters for Leipzig was located here from 1950 to 1989. Citizens occupied the building during the Monday Demonstration on 4 December 1989." pays tribute to the peaceful occupation of the building as a central act of self-empowerment on the part of Leipzig's citizens, which paved the way for the democratic rebirth of the country.
The commemorative plaque was created by an artist from Leipzig, Matthias Klemm.
Augustusplatz: Democracy Bell
Since 2009, a democracy bell at the entrance to Grimmaische Straße has commemorated the pivotal Monday Demonstration on 9 October 1989, during which the end of the GDR was "rung in".
This was a gift from the East German Foundry Associations to the City of Leipzig, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Peaceful Revolution of 9 October 2009
Leipzig's Cultural Foundation initiated a design competition, won by the artist Via Lewandowsky from Berlin, for delivering the overarching artistic concept. The democracy bell was cast in August 2009 in Lauchhammer.
European Cultural Heritage Network, "Iron Curtain"
Since 2012, St. Nicholas Church, the Memorial Museum in the "Runde Ecke" and the Leipzig Ring have been officially listed among the sites pertaining to the European "Iron Curtain" Cultural Heritage Network.
The Iron Curtain network includes a total of twelve places and sites which stand for the emergence, existence and overcoming of the wall and of barbed wire. Of the selected locations, Leipzig is the only one which is not located on the former inner German border. Proof that the fall of the Iron Curtain would not have been possible without the Peaceful Revolution in Leipzig.
Across the whole city: Stele project, "Sites of the Peaceful Revolution"
On 9 October 2010, the "sites of the Peaceful Revolution" was inaugurated by the citizens' committee of Leipzig e.V (registered association). Since then, 20 steles around the city have marked important original locations of the democratic upheaval of 1989/90, where actions which contributed to the fall of the SED dictatorship took place.
Photos and German or English texts communicate the particularity, complexity and uniqueness of the Peaceful Revolution in Leipzig, which paved the way for German unification. By scanning the QR codes at the steles, you can download the "Leipzig '89" app, which disposes of a multi-language audio guide and over 300 original photos, documents and contemporary film material.