Culture in Leipzig and its surrounding region

Leipzig offers a unique cultural landscape

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In the Footsteps of the Peaceful Revolution

Autumn '89 in Leipzig

The citizens of Leipzig who demonstrated in their hundreds of thousands along Leipzig's inner ring-road in 1989 were no longer satisfied with merely cosmetic changes. The pivotal day of the Peaceful Revolution in Leipzig was 9 October 1989, when 70,000 protesters shouting "we are the people!” and "no violence!"  overthrew the SED regime.

They made history for their courage, strong will and renunciation of violence. The emotional images from the Monday Demonstrations in the Autumn of 1989 reached every corner of the world. They showed determined people living in an unyielding society and peacefully demanding basic democratic rights.

As a result, Leipzig made national history and the foundations of German Reunification were laid. A historic event, without which there would be no European Union as we know it today.

One month after the pivotal Monday Demonstration in Leipzig, the Berlin Wall fell during the night of 9 November.

Under the title of "Herbst '89 – Aufbruch zur Demokratie'" (Autumn '89 – The Road to Democracy), each year, the city commemorates the events leading up to the Peaceful Revolution. On 9 October, the municipal remembrance day, the Festival of Lights is always the highlight of this series of events. Thousands of residents and visitors to the city meet at Augustusplatz to remember the events of 1989 against the backdrop of atmospheric illuminations.

 

The citizens of Leipzig who demonstrated in their hundreds of thousands along Leipzig's inner ring-road in 1989 were no longer satisfied with merely cosmetic changes. The pivotal day of the Peaceful Revolution in Leipzig was 9 October 1989, when 70,000 protesters shouting "we are the people!” and "no violence!"  overthrew the SED regime.

They made history for their courage, strong will and renunciation of violence. The emotional images from the Monday Demonstrations in the Autumn of 1989 reached every corner of the world. They showed determined people living in an unyielding society and peacefully demanding basic democratic rights.

As a result, Leipzig made national history and the foundations of German Reunification were laid. A historic event, without which there would be no European Union as we know it today.

One month after the pivotal Monday Demonstration in Leipzig, the Berlin Wall fell during the night of 9 November.

Under the title of "Herbst '89 – Aufbruch zur Demokratie'" (Autumn '89 – The Road to Democracy), each year, the city commemorates the events leading up to the Peaceful Revolution. On 9 October, the municipal remembrance day, the Festival of Lights is always the highlight of this series of events. Thousands of residents and visitors to the city meet at Augustusplatz to remember the events of 1989 against the backdrop of atmospheric illuminations.

 

Every year on 9 October – 

Leipzig Festival of Lights

Sites of the Peaceful Revolution in Leipzig

Places of Remembrance in Public Spaces

  • Around Leipzig there are 20 steles marking original sites of the democratic movement of 1989/90.

  • These are all locations that played host to events which contributed significantly to the fall of the SED dictatorship.

  • Photos and German or English texts communicate the complexity and uniqueness of the Peaceful Revolution in Leipzig.

St. Nicholas Church and St. Nicholas Church Square

The Prayers for Peace and Monday Demonstrations turned Leipzig's St. Nicholas Church into a global symbol of the Peaceful Revolution of 1989. At the heart of St. Nicholas Church Square is the St. Nicholas Column, a replica of a column in the nave of the church with a crown of palm branches. It was erected in 1999 as a place of remembrance at the spot where the Leipzig Monday Demonstrations began.

A granite fountain, kept in an elegant and simple design, aims to make the square in front of St. Nicholas Church 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.

 

The Prayers for Peace and Monday Demonstrations turned Leipzig's St. Nicholas Church into a global symbol of the Peaceful Revolution of 1989. At the heart of St. Nicholas Church Square is the St. Nicholas Column, a replica of a column in the nave of the church with a crown of palm branches. It was erected in 1999 as a place of remembrance at the spot where the Leipzig Monday Demonstrations began.

A granite fountain, kept in an elegant and simple design, aims to make the square in front of St. Nicholas Church 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.

 

Entrance to the Memorial Museum in the "Round Corner". © Philipp Kirschner

The “Runde Ecke” ("Round Corner") Memorial Museum

Located in original and preserved rooms at the former district headquarters of the Leipzig secret service (Stasi), the memorial museum informs visitors about the role of the "Stasi" in protecting the SED dictatorship and how this political system was overcome by the Peaceful Revolution.

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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 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.

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 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.

Democracy Bell on Augustusplatz

Since 2009, the 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.

Since 2009, the 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.

Leipzig Forum of Contemporary History

This permanent exhibition is dedicated to the history of division and unity, dictatorship and resistance in the Soviet-occupied zone and the GDR.

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Former Central Execution Site of the GDR

The exhibition section of the memorial deals with the death penalty in the GDR, which was only abolished in 1987.

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Leipzig School Museum

The Leipzig School Museum depicts the changes that have shaped schools and education over the last 100 years.

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Stasi Bunker Museum in Machern

At the end of the 1960s, the Ministry of State Security built the bunker as an emergency command centre for the Leipzig district Stasi commander. 

At the end of the 1960s, the Ministry of State Security built the bunker as an emergency command centre for the Leipzig district Stasi commander. 

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Battle of the Nations near Leipzig

The Biggest Battle of the 19th Century

After Napoleon was defeated in the Russian campaign of 1812, General Yorck concluded the Convention of Tauroggen with General Diebitsch on 30 December 1812. The fighting between Prussia and Russia came to an end. Both countries signed an alliance agreement before declaring war on France on 16th March 1813. On 12 August 1813, Austria also declared war on France. One day before, the coalition's army crossed the Oder. Their goal: to fight against Napoleon's troops. Two months later and following several defeats, Napoleon retreated to unite his army around Leipzig. The allies' armies also started to make a move.

The Battle of the Nations was initiated on 14 October 1813 with a cavalry fight near Liebertwolkwitz, in which over 14,000 riders participated. Napoleon insisted on a conclusive battle and fought from 16 to 19 October 1813 with his far outnumbered troops against the allies' army. With around 600,000 participating soldiers from a dozen different nations, this fight remained the largest battle in world history until the beginning of the 20th century. Over 100,000 soldiers lost their lives in this battle. 

Defeated, Napoleon retreated with his troops on 19 October 1813. The allies stormed Leipzig which, at the time, was home to a mere 30,000 residents. Many of the wounded 59,000, from both sides, died on the days which followed, due to the lack of available medical care. A typhus epidemic broke out in Leipzig. 

Napoleon's defeat put an end to his quest for power on German soil once and for all. 

 

After Napoleon was defeated in the Russian campaign of 1812, General Yorck concluded the Convention of Tauroggen with General Diebitsch on 30 December 1812. The fighting between Prussia and Russia came to an end. Both countries signed an alliance agreement before declaring war on France on 16th March 1813. On 12 August 1813, Austria also declared war on France. One day before, the coalition's army crossed the Oder. Their goal: to fight against Napoleon's troops. Two months later and following several defeats, Napoleon retreated to unite his army around Leipzig. The allies' armies also started to make a move.

The Battle of the Nations was initiated on 14 October 1813 with a cavalry fight near Liebertwolkwitz, in which over 14,000 riders participated. Napoleon insisted on a conclusive battle and fought from 16 to 19 October 1813 with his far outnumbered troops against the allies' army. With around 600,000 participating soldiers from a dozen different nations, this fight remained the largest battle in world history until the beginning of the 20th century. Over 100,000 soldiers lost their lives in this battle. 

Defeated, Napoleon retreated with his troops on 19 October 1813. The allies stormed Leipzig which, at the time, was home to a mere 30,000 residents. Many of the wounded 59,000, from both sides, died on the days which followed, due to the lack of available medical care. A typhus epidemic broke out in Leipzig. 

Napoleon's defeat put an end to his quest for power on German soil once and for all. 

 

91 Metres

Total height

501 Steps

From the Base to the Observation Platform

60 Metre

Long relief of the battle on the front of the monument

10 Metre

Colossal figures

Impressions of the Monument to the Battle of the Nations 

Sites of the Battle of the Nations

Monument to the Battle of the Nations

Leipzig

© CC-BY | www.pkfotografie.com, Philipp Kirschner

Monument to the Battle of the Nations and FORUM 1813

Leipzig

© CC-BY | www.pkfotografie.com, Philipp Kirschner

Russian Memorial Church

Leipzig

© www.leipzig.travel, Andreas Schmidt

Theatre, cabaret, variety shows in Leipzig

A multifaceted theatre landscape in Leipzig, City of Culture

Are you interested in theatre, cabaret or variety shows? Then you've come to the right place! Leipzig's multifaceted character constantly inspires visitors to the cultural and trade fair city. Whether you prefer theatre, cabaret, music, architecture or art – in our city all culture lovers will find everything they desire.

The Leipzig theatre landscape is characterised by an enormous variety of small and larger stages. You can experience elaborate productions at the Schauspiel Leipzig, and particularly innovative performances at the Theater der Junge Welt (Theatre for children and young people). In summer you can also enjoy a variety of summer theatres. These take place in a wonderful atmosphere under the open sky.

Since Leipzig boasts the highest cabaret density per capita, it is rightly regarded as the cabaret capital of Germany. The cabaret programmes offer a wide range of shows in which the Saxon dialect is lovingly cherished and cultivated by all ensembles. The Leipzig cabaret scene will captivate you with its revue and variety theatres. Be amazed by breathtaking shows with aerial acrobatics, magic, music and comedy while enjoying a plate of culinary delicacies. An additional highlight for all cabaret fans is the international Leipzig Lachmesse, Germany's largest cabaret festival. The Lachmesse – European Festival for Humour and Satire takes place every autumn. With more than 100 events, the eleven-day European humour and satire festival guarantees cabaret, comedy, clowns, music and fun at its best – sore laughing muscles for young and old are thrown in for free.

 

Are you interested in theatre, cabaret or variety shows? Then you've come to the right place! Leipzig's multifaceted character constantly inspires visitors to the cultural and trade fair city. Whether you prefer theatre, cabaret, music, architecture or art – in our city all culture lovers will find everything they desire.

The Leipzig theatre landscape is characterised by an enormous variety of small and larger stages. You can experience elaborate productions at the Schauspiel Leipzig, and particularly innovative performances at the Theater der Junge Welt (Theatre for children and young people). In summer you can also enjoy a variety of summer theatres. These take place in a wonderful atmosphere under the open sky.

Since Leipzig boasts the highest cabaret density per capita, it is rightly regarded as the cabaret capital of Germany. The cabaret programmes offer a wide range of shows in which the Saxon dialect is lovingly cherished and cultivated by all ensembles. The Leipzig cabaret scene will captivate you with its revue and variety theatres. Be amazed by breathtaking shows with aerial acrobatics, magic, music and comedy while enjoying a plate of culinary delicacies. An additional highlight for all cabaret fans is the international Leipzig Lachmesse, Germany's largest cabaret festival. The Lachmesse – European Festival for Humour and Satire takes place every autumn. With more than 100 events, the eleven-day European humour and satire festival guarantees cabaret, comedy, clowns, music and fun at its best – sore laughing muscles for young and old are thrown in for free.

 

Theatre Stages in Leipzig

The entrance to the Musical Comedy Theatre at Westbad Event Location © Tom Williger

The large Leipzig theatres offer a varied repertoire. Additionally, in the city's nooks and crannies, you can discover smaller independent theatres  – both with and without permanent venues.

In summer, various open-air stages such as the "Sommertheater" in the Gohliser Schlösschen welcome their audiences. The spectrum is as broad as the list of theatre genres is long. You will find exciting performances throughout the year on the programmes of the major theatres. From classics to modern productions, political theatre to melodrama and epic to experimental – Leipzig's theatres offer something for every taste.

Leipzig's theatre scene can look back on an impressive history steeped in tradition that dates all the way to the 18th century. The first municipal theatre in Germany was built on today's Richard-Wagner-Platz as early as 1766. On the opening night, Johann Wolfgang Goethe himself was in the audience. He was studying in Leipzig at the time.

Among other things, one of the highlights of Leipzig's theatre history is the world premiere of "The Maid of Orleans". Friedrich Schiller's play was first performed in 1801 at the former municipal theatre Comödienhaus on the Rannische Bastei, now Richard-Wagner-Platz.

The large Leipzig theatres offer a varied repertoire. Additionally, in the city's nooks and crannies, you can discover smaller independent theatres  – both with and without permanent venues.

In summer, various open-air stages such as the "Sommertheater" in the Gohliser Schlösschen welcome their audiences. The spectrum is as broad as the list of theatre genres is long. You will find exciting performances throughout the year on the programmes of the major theatres. From classics to modern productions, political theatre to melodrama and epic to experimental – Leipzig's theatres offer something for every taste.

Leipzig's theatre scene can look back on an impressive history steeped in tradition that dates all the way to the 18th century. The first municipal theatre in Germany was built on today's Richard-Wagner-Platz as early as 1766. On the opening night, Johann Wolfgang Goethe himself was in the audience. He was studying in Leipzig at the time.

Among other things, one of the highlights of Leipzig's theatre history is the world premiere of "The Maid of Orleans". Friedrich Schiller's play was first performed in 1801 at the former municipal theatre Comödienhaus on the Rannische Bastei, now Richard-Wagner-Platz.

Cabaret Paradise

Since Leipzig boasts the highest cabaret density per capita, it is rightly regarded as the cabaret capital of Germany.

Even in GDR times, cabaret theatres such as the Leipziger Pfeffermühle, the academixer and the Leipziger Funzel were guaranteed to provide cutting political satire. They made fun of the working-class and peasant state with biting humour and pointed punch lines. The audience had to read between the lines because, in order to circumvent censorship, the artists were forced to work using hints and insinuating puns.

This cabaret tradition continues to the present day. Since the Peaceful Revolution of 1989, new stages have been established in Leipzig, including the cabaret theatre SANFTWUT and the Leipzig Central Cabaret. They are the best proof of the fact that the scene is still very much alive. Not to mention versatile! In addition to political satire, programmes also include literary-musical evenings and cabaret shows. The "secret" star is almost always the Saxon dialect. It is lovingly cherished and cultivated by ensembles.

In addition to the cabaret houses, the Krystallpalast Varieté completes the list of variety theatres: Here, you can enjoy a very special evening filled with culinary delicacies, daring acrobatics shows, magic, live music and comedy. Amazement is included!

Since Leipzig boasts the highest cabaret density per capita, it is rightly regarded as the cabaret capital of Germany.

Even in GDR times, cabaret theatres such as the Leipziger Pfeffermühle, the academixer and the Leipziger Funzel were guaranteed to provide cutting political satire. They made fun of the working-class and peasant state with biting humour and pointed punch lines. The audience had to read between the lines because, in order to circumvent censorship, the artists were forced to work using hints and insinuating puns.

This cabaret tradition continues to the present day. Since the Peaceful Revolution of 1989, new stages have been established in Leipzig, including the cabaret theatre SANFTWUT and the Leipzig Central Cabaret. They are the best proof of the fact that the scene is still very much alive. Not to mention versatile! In addition to political satire, programmes also include literary-musical evenings and cabaret shows. The "secret" star is almost always the Saxon dialect. It is lovingly cherished and cultivated by ensembles.

In addition to the cabaret houses, the Krystallpalast Varieté completes the list of variety theatres: Here, you can enjoy a very special evening filled with culinary delicacies, daring acrobatics shows, magic, live music and comedy. Amazement is included!

The Leipzig Cabarets

Leipzig Lachmesse - European Festival for Humour and Satire

This European Festival for Humour and Satire is unique:

international artists make sure you use all your laughing muscles and provide excellent entertainment with splendid humour and biting satire. Particularly outstanding artists are awarded the "Leipziger Löwenzahn" (Leipzig dandelion) festival prize.

The festival offers a mix of political satire, cabaret, music and sophisticated comedy. If this festival doesn't make you laugh, then you really have nothing to laugh about!

This European Festival for Humour and Satire is unique:

international artists make sure you use all your laughing muscles and provide excellent entertainment with splendid humour and biting satire. Particularly outstanding artists are awarded the "Leipziger Löwenzahn" (Leipzig dandelion) festival prize.

The festival offers a mix of political satire, cabaret, music and sophisticated comedy. If this festival doesn't make you laugh, then you really have nothing to laugh about!

Lachmesse Venues

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