St. Nicholas Church is the oldest and largest church in Leipzig. In autumn 1989, the Church was the central starting point of the Peaceful Revolution.
Bach began his duties in Leipzig here on 30 May 1723 with a cantata performance in a church service. From time immemorial, the church music of St. Nicholas was closely connected with the neighbouring church of St. Thomas. Although the St. Nicholas Church was regarded as Leipzig's main parish church, it had its own organist, but no cantor. As cantor of St. Thomas Church and Leipzig's "Director musices", Bach was responsible for the church music at both St. Nicholas and St. Thomas as well as at the New Church of St. Matthäi and St. Peter's Church. St. Nicholas Church witnessed the most cantata performances under Bach's direction. Some of Bach's major works were also premiered here, including the St. John Passion (1724) and the Christmas Oratorio (1734/35).
Through the prayers for peace, which still take place every Monday at 5 pm, St. Nicholas Church became the starting point of the Peaceful Revolution in 1989 and a symbol of German reunification. The light installation "public light" at the St. Nicholas churchyard consists of 144 coloured glass cubes set into the pavement. It represents a metaphor for the active goodwill of Leipzig's citizens and reflects the process of situational flare-ups of political consciousness. The St. Nicholas column in front of the church, with its classicist motif which mirrors the interior of the church, is also intended to remind us of those participants who were unable to find a place in the overcrowded St. Nicholas church in the autumn of '89.