Leipzig 1994

Leipzig Travel Blog

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Leipzig, train station

After my visit to Dresden one year before I decided to go back the former south DDR to have a look at the more western part. Again the flight was going via Frankfurt/Main. Only this time the wheather didn't cooperate. Due to heavy snowfall at Frankfurt airport I missed my connection to Leipzig. Lufthansa turned out to be very generous. At their costs a limousin service took me to Gravenbruch Kempinski in Neu-Isenburg, a luxurious hotel with lake view in the middle of a forrest. One o'clock at night roomservice brought me a delicious free dinner and next morning I could use sporting and relaxation facilities.

Leipzig, Altes Rathaus
 Well, missing a plane is not a bad thing to overcome!

In Leipzig I stayed at "Haus Ingeborg", Nordstraße 58, only a 10 minutes walk from Europe's biggest train station. This was a simple, but central hotel. Problem was that my suitcase was missing, but Frau Feldmann was proud to tell me a few days later that it had been retrieved and delivered at the hotel (she must have been relieved as well that I could get on some clean clothes...). Leipzig is Germans number 1 (sorry, Frankfurt) Messestadt. If there's a fair, hotel prices can go skyhigh.

Leipzigs eye catcher is the Altes Rathaus (old town hall) on the Markt. It has a beautiful tower with baroque top and an arcade. The building originates from 1556, but was reconstructed in 1991. Opposite is the Alte Waage (old weigh-house), completely destoyed in 1943 and rebuilt 21 years later.

Leipzig, Neues Rathaus
Under the Markt is the Untergrundmessehaus, which was closed during my stay. Leipzig is a music city, which can be noticed on the Augustusplatz. Here you find the Opernhaus (opera) and the Neues Gewandhaus, home of the famous Leipzig orchestra. When you walk on the Grimmaische Straße from the Markt to the Augustusplatz you'll see a beautiful oriel window, the Fürstenerker (corner Nikolaistraße). In the Thomaskirche at the west side of the city centre Johann Sebastian Bach, who was a cantor of this church, was buried. Nearby is the Neues Rathaus on the spot of the castle Pleißenburg, of which the tower is the only remainder. It was heightend to 114 m.

South east of the city lies the big and ugly concrete/granite Völkerschlachdenkmal, a monument of the battle which gave Napoleon a one way ticket to Elba.

Volkerenschlagdenkmal
You can even see from where he watched the battle in October 1813. At that spot stands the Napoleonstein.

Some 35 kms north west of Leipzig, and easily reached by train, lies the city of Halle. At the Markt are the main attractions: the big 5 towered Marktkirche, the town hall and the 84 m high Roter Turm (red tower). On a corner of the Große Nikolaistraße is the birth place of Händel. In 1531 cardinal Albrecht II built a castle along the river Saale. This building, the Neue Residenz, was in deplorable state when I visited Halle. Nicer was the castle Moritzburg, especially the inner court.

Going north from Leipzig I passed the heavily polluted area around Bitterfeld with its energy plants. Hold your breath, until you reach Lutherstadt Wittenberg. Again, the Markt is interesting.

Wittenberg, Market Square
Here are the statues of Philipp Melanchton and Martin Luther in het middle of the Marienkirche (where Luther preached) and the Rathaus (town hall). In 1760 the Schloß (castle) and Schloßkirche were destroyed as was the door on which Luther nailed his 95 theses. The church was rebuilt with a bronze door including these theses. (Thesentür from 1858). Luther lived  in the Augustiner Kloster (renamed Lutherhalle) till his dead in 1546. His grave is in the Schloßkirche.

On the river Zwikauer Mulde, 45 km s.e. of Leipzig lies a village, which had become well known because of a TV series in the early 70ies: Colditz. I was very impressed by the series (starring David McCallum and Robert Wagner, in 2005 refilmed with Damian Lewis and Jason Priestley), and had to see the castle where allied officers were hold imprisoned during WW II.

Colditz castle
When I arrived in the village I seemed to be the only human being. Luckily there was a student at the entrance of the castle; she was very happy to show me around the place, where traces of escape routes were still present. Some months after my visit I read that the castle was for sale... Next to Colditz I visited Rochlitz with its not too interesting gothic stronghold. A train with the speed of a 100 year old cycler took me to Altenburg, a very old but not so glamorous town. More interesting is Dom-Stadt Naumburg with a very beautiful market square. Here you find many old Hanseatic houses and the gothic town hall with a unique porch. Other squares worth a visit are Marienplatz (church, gate), Othmarsplatz and Domplatz.
Erfurt, Krämerbrücke
North of Naumburg is a wine area with the village Freyburg a/d Untrut, which is dominated by the castle Neuenburg reached by a stiff walk uphill.

For the second part of my trip I stayed at the Hotel am Ring in Erfurt, a 17 stories apartment block in east-european style (if you can call this a style). Erfurt is a good point to see the places in Thüringen, but the city its self is also worth some time. Highlight is the Krämerbrücke, a bridge with houses aside. If you walk on it you're not aware that this actually is a bridge. It's is more interesting than the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. Other places in Erfurt worth a walk: Augustinerkloster, Fischmarkt (with the nice fassade of the house "Zum Roten Ochsen"), Domplatz and the Petersberg.

East of Erfurt is Weimar, the city of Goethe and Schiller (they shake hands on the Theaterplatz). Both their houses can be seen in Weimar and so is Liszt's house. I had a lovely stroll in the Park an der Ilm with Goethe's garden house and the sinister atmosphere around the small ruins of the Tempelherrenhaus. From the city centre I took the bus to the Ettersberg, memorial site of the notorious KZ Lager (concentration camp) Buchenwald. The gate of the main entrance still show the words "Jedem das Seine". It was a very impressive location, where 56,000 people found there dead.

West of Erfurt is Eisenach, birthplace of Bach. Here was the production of the DDR car Wartburg (before worldwar II BMW!).

Schmalkalden
Actually, the Wartburg is also the castle complex just outside the town (well, I had to walk uphill for 3 km!). It's here that Luther translated the New Testament from the Greek. In Eisenach I took a train to the beautiful Thüringer Wald. Halfway, I can recommend a tour in the small village of Schmalkalden, full of old frame-work houses. Don't miss this. In Zella-Mehlis I had to change trains. I treated myself on a long walk through snowy wheather, because I was mistaken in the train station: I got off at Bahnhof Zella-Mehlis West instead of Zella-Mehlis! So I didn't miss the St. Blasil church. But you may... My last stop before going back to Erfurt was in Oberhof, a typical wintersport location.

 

caiour says:
Well, I can't wait to see it.
Posted on: Mar 16, 2008
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Leipzig, train station
Leipzig, train station
Leipzig, Altes Rathaus
Leipzig, Altes Rathaus
Leipzig, Neues Rathaus
Leipzig, Neues Rathaus
Volkerenschlagdenkmal
Volkerenschlagdenkmal
Wittenberg, Market Square
Wittenberg, Market Square
Colditz castle
Colditz castle
Erfurt, Krämerbrücke
Erfurt, Krämerbrücke
Schmalkalden
Schmalkalden
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Leipzig
photo by: Koralifix