On Travel Forums, the question arises – does one visit Leipzig or Dresden? For musicians it’s a no-brainer – one must pay homage to J.S. Bach, and so off to Leipzig it is. Not an easy day trip as it requires 5 hours on the train round-trip, but worth it.
Bach worked in two churches in Leipzig and spent his final years in this city from 1723-1750. At St. Thomas he was the Kapellmeister and director of the St. Thomas boys choir (still performing today). Bach is buried in the church. Or let’s say, we’re pretty sure those are his remains. Upon his death he was buried elsewhere, but in 1950 his body was exhumed and placed inside the church.
As this is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, it is also important to note that Luther preached at St. Thomas, bringing the Reformation to Leipzig here.
The stained glass windows show Bach, Luther, as well as Mendelssohn (who also lived out his final days in Leipzig and is credited with bringing Bach’s music back in fashion.
With all that music history, it’s no surprise that there are street musicians of all kinds throughout the streets of the old city.
Leipzig, in the former East Germany, prides itself on being the first place for peaceful protests against the government, before the wall came down. Out of the train station, one immediately sees this giant mural.
The Zeitgeistliches Forum has many artifacts from the struggles of the East Germans and gives free tours in English. You can see this original famous sign from Berlin here.
Goethe was also a former Leipzig resident, and it was here that he was inspired to write his version of Faust. The statue on the right is above the Auerbach’s Keller where the paintings on the ceiling from the story inspired the poet.
Leipzig has many beautiful things to look at, including these statues, and the facade of the University of Leipzig.
Our second day trip took us to the Spreewald – literally the forest along the river Spree. Only about an hour south of Berlin, it’s famous for boating, but we took a 9-mile hike along some of the canals and past ponds on a beautiful and sunny day.