Leipzig is one thing of a ‘hidden gem’ in Germany. And sure, I exploit that time period very loosely as Leipzig actually isn’t hidden (removed from) nevertheless it most actually is a gem. It’s such an essential metropolis in Germany for causes (one in every of which is basically HUGE) that lots of people the world over actually love and respect however don’t essentially know Leipzig was the driving pressure behind.
See, Leipzig is a type of German cities that individuals don’t at all times consider immediately (that honour tends to go to Berlin, Munich and even Hamburg) however is definitely an absolute deal with and a delight to go to and I genuinely can’t advocate it sufficient (don’t fear, quite than happening about it – I’ll really present you precisely what I imply within the pictures under).
One of many explanation why Leipzig is so essential is due to the Berlin Wall and communism. See, in 1989 – nearly 30 years precisely to the date that I’m penning this put up (actually 1 week from now), Leipzig performed a key function within the fall in communism in Central and Jap Europe, the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany.
Shocking, isn’t it? Even after we’d determined to go to Leipzig, I had no concept of this reality or how the impression that the town had, reverberated round Europe and the remainder of the world.
*By the best way, we’re freely giving a free journey to Leipzig for 2 nights for 2 individuals – the embedded Instagram put up on the backside of the put up has all the main points on the way to win this.
Leipzig was traditionally one in every of Germany’s wealthiest cities and a hub for arts and tradition (as you get with most rich cities) however following World Conflict II, and the next separation of Germany into East and West Germany, quickly declined in each wealth and significance.
Leipzig’s historical past (see extra particulars under) is largely why the town is completely stunning to go to.
After World Conflict II, so many German cities knocked down a number of their previous historic buildings (most of which has been destroyed within the warfare) and selected to exchange then with shiny new buildings as a substitute of restoring them to the best way they regarded earlier than.
Financially, this made sense – it was far cheaper to construct a brand new constructing utilizing new supplies than attempting to revive centuries-old structure.
The brand new buildings would have regarded stunning on the time too (they have been constructed within the present design and would have been all the fashion again within the day) however suffice to say, they’ve not likely dated that nicely and clearly don’t look wherever close to as stunning because the previous structure… and that’s earlier than you even begin to contemplate the historical past you’d discover within the previous locations.
Leipzig, with it’s newfound lack of wealth, couldn’t afford to construct new buildings like the opposite wealthier German cities may and so left a lot of the previous structure because it was.
This turned to be a blessing in disguise as soon as the wall fell, Communism collapsed in East Germany and the town began to change into wealthier. Leipzig discovered from the error in different German cities and selected to revive the older buildings quite than knock them down, which is why Leipzig is now arguably one in every of Germany’s prettiest cities.
Exploring Leipzig I used to be simply so shocked by how stunning a lot of the town was, particularly because it’s a metropolis in Germany (a reasonably in style nation to go to in Europe) and but didn’t appear as nicely know or fairly as in style to go to (a reality which is quickly altering 12 months on 12 months – simply learn just a few articles with statistics on how increasingly individuals need to go to Leipzig).
Oh, one other factor that kinda shocked me right here was the meals scene, your entire time we have been right here, I don’t suppose we ate in a single single German restaurant.
This wasn’t one thing we even actively determined to do, we simply went about exploring the cities and popping into the eating places really useful by locals or which had the most effective evaluations and ended up uncovering Leipzig’s worldwide meals scene inadvertently.
There’s simply such a variety of meals from world wide (like we discover in cities like London and New York), which turned out to be one thing of a shock once we stopped retrospectively to consider the place we’d eaten your entire time we’d been exploring the town.
However I digress… let me get again to that background on the town to set some context as to Leipzig’s significance.
A Bit Of Historical past
So, when Germany was cut up into East and West – the East was occupied and administered by the Soviet forces (Russia et al) and was referred to as the German Democratic Republic whereas the West was occupied by the Allied Forces (the USA, the UK and France) and was referred to as the Federal Republic of Germany.
The East was communist and fairly frankly, struggled economically, the West then again thrived and the Allied Forces, which really managed completely different components of what grew to become West Germany, bandied collectively to create the Federal Republic of Germany.
Lengthy story quick, Germany grew to become separated into two very distinct areas, and never simply when it comes to management however when it comes to precise bodily separation (maybe most symbolised by the Berlin Wall, separating the town into East and West) with individuals attempting to flee from the East to the West killed by guards, landmines or imprisoned.
Households have been separated by an precise wall and a few by no means acquired the chance to see one another till the autumn of the wall and the reunification of East and West Germany, which all began in Leipzig.
See, Leipzig is likely one of the key causes and the principle metropolis that led to the autumn of the wall and that is right down to the tenacity, inclusive spirit and eagerness for social justice that you simply nonetheless discover if you go to the town as of late.
How Leipzig Helped Reunite Germany
Like I discussed earlier, 2019 is the 30th anniversary of the autumn of the Berlin Wall and Leipzig performed a key half in that, which in the end was an iconic image of bringing Germany again collectively.
The function in bringing Germany collectively was, in reality, so massive that Leipzig has been nicknamed the ‘Hero Metropolis’.
So, fast catch up, earlier than 1989 (after World Conflict II), Germany was segregated a lot in order that these within the ‘East’ and people within the ‘West’ who lived utterly completely different and separate lives.
By 1989, for the residents of West Germany, life was comparatively secure, with wealth, alternatives and freedom. That being mentioned, it was a very completely different image in East Germany, which appears so shocking if you go to these days. As an illustration, cities like Leipzig have been left underdeveloped, with the scars of warfare and there was no freedom or democracy for all these saved inside.
This, largely, is why Leipzig’s social justice got here into play.
In September 1989, gatherings would happen in St. Nicholas Church each Monday, and as weeks handed, the entire metropolis grew to become concerned on this peaceable protest to demand freedom and rights for all individuals in East Germany.
Apparently, the gatherings have been so huge that they might not be ignored, particularly because the individuals of Leipzig knew of the freedoms that West Germany relished.
Going again to my Uni days, I bear in mind studying for a philosophy class which mentioned that ‘information is energy’ and Leipzig was actually awake to the information of the injustices that have been pressured upon the East.
Inside a matter of weeks, the numbers had swelled and on the ninth of October, 1989, the demonstrations which began with just some tons of of individuals swelled exponentially until round 70,000 individuals gathered in Augustusplatz (within the centre of Leipzig) to demand freedom.
The sheer scale of the protesters – in a non-voilent protest, nonetheless, shocked the native leaders and safety forces and kick-started the autumn of the German Democratic Republic.
These numbers swelled to as a lot as 320,000 individuals simply two weeks after (it was round 120,000 one week after) – the motion gained momentum and energy after that one key day on the ninth of October, 1989 and the individuals wouldn’t be ignored. Suffice to say, the East and West of Germany, together with the remainder of the world, took observe.
Precisely one month later, the autumn of the Berlin Wall occurred (ninth November 1989), with Leipzig and the protestors (now referred to as the Monday Hero’s) enjoying a significant half in reunifying Germany.
Leipzig’s energy and willpower impressed different protests (a few of which had really been occurring across the similar time) and a basic awakening in Europe, and following the autumn of the Berlin Wall, in the end led to the weakening and eventual collapse of communism in Central and Jap Europe.
So that you see, Leipzig is about a lot greater than a fairly metropolis. There’s a lot historical past and grit to the town which makes it all of the extra essential and attention-grabbing to go to. It’s unquestionably an absolute gem to go to and hopefully one which helps present extra perception into Germany as a complete.
Sidebar: If you happen to’re thinking about seeing what life was like in Leipzig earlier than the reunification of Germany, it is best to pop into the Discussion board of Up to date Historical past or the Stasi Bunker Museum if you go to the town.
Win A Journey To Leipzig!
Now right here’s the enjoyable half!
As we speak, Leipzig is a fairly vibrant metropolis and an important place to go to for a protracted weekend (which we did). It’s acquired a lot attraction with all it’s historic buildings and galleries, plus it’s cheaper than different spots like Munich or Hamburg, too.
This is the reason we needed to share a contest we’re having with the town of Leipzig the place you possibly can win a vacation for 2 to discover the town and discover out extra about what we talked about within the metropolis itself.
To enter, all you’ll want to do is touch upon our Instagram put up (under) and tag who you’d wish to take with you in your journey to Leipzig.
View this put up on Instagram
ᵃᵈ GIVEAWAY! 30 years in the past, the Berlin Wall fell – shortly after which, East and West Germany grew to become re-united. You in all probability knew that. What you may not have identified nonetheless was that the town of Leipzig was a key cause why this occurred. On Monday, the ninth of October 1989, Leipzig’s residents organised a non-violent protest within the metropolis centre, with numbers initially within the 100s, however rapidly rising to over 70,000 – a key occasion seen the world over, which led to the autumn of the Berlin Wall precisely a month after; and the collapse of communism in Europe. We’ve really simply printed a full weblog put up on all of this (so pop over to www.HandLuggageOnly.co.uk to search out out extra about Leipzig’s half within the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Communism in Central and Jap Europe) however the important thing cause why we’re penning this put up now could be to giveaway a free journey for two to Leipzig! You and a buddy/household would win flights for two (UK airports solely) to Leipzig, lodging for two nights (double room within the metropolis centre) and a Leipzig card with a guidebook (providing you with free transport to discover the town in addition to many reductions throughout the town). To win, merely tag the buddy or member of the family you’d wish to take to Leipzig with you; within the feedback under. Giveaway closes ninth October 2019 at 23:59 GMT. Good luck! #MondayHeroes #LeipzigTravel
A put up shared by Hand Baggage Solely (@handluggageonly) on Oct 2, 2019 at three:53pm PDT
While you go to, make sure to try the views from the Panorama Tower and discover the Panometer, too. Oh, and in the event you’ve conjured up an urge for food, pop over to Max Enk – a Michelin starred restaurant that has a number of the most scrumptious meals within the metropolis.Giveaway closes ninth October 2019 at 23:59 GMT.
See full phrases & circumstances on this hyperlink right here.