From 1920 to the early 1990s, the old exhibition center was the flagship of municipal trade fair activities and the venue of the Leipzig Sample Fair.
From 1920 to 1991, the Leipzig samples fair presented its exhibitions at the Alte Messe exhibition centre in south-east Leipzig. Due to Leipzig's positive economic development in the 1920s, the grounds were further expanded over the years and new exhibition halls were added. From 1991 to 1996, a few trade fairs were still being held here until the Leipzig Trade Fair moved to the New Trade Fair Centre in the north of Leipzig. In 2015, the Leipzig Trade Fair celebrated its 850th anniversary.
Today, some of the remaining exhibition halls, which are listed as historical monuments, have been renovated and adapted for new uses. Important examples are the former Hall 12 - also known as the Soviet Pavilion - and the 3,000 m² Kreis'sche Kuppelbau (formerly Hall 16). The double M at the east gate, which represents the logo of the Leipzig sample fair, is also a protected monument today. It is a reminder of past fairs and is at the same time a beloved symbol of the city.