In less than a month (please join me in feeling terrified) I’ll be heading to Leipzig, Germany with Rachel Wittel and a few others for about a month and a half. I heard through the grapevine that Leipzig is just a real sweetheart and is totally stoked to play host for us, so I decided to find out as much as I could before our destined meeting. It turns out, the great ‘Hypezig’ (more on that soon) has been on the map for, coming up in 2015, one thousand years. Anyone wanna get hyphy at a millennial party?
Before the Magna Carta was drafted, before Christopher Columbus’ grandfather was born, even before the Crusaders sacked Constantinople, Leipzig (or urbs Libzi as it was first declared in 1015) was a cultural and commercial hub with international connections. The city lay at the intersection of Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important medieval trade routes, and has developed as a trade center ever since. The Leipzig Trade Fair has existed since at least 1165 and is the oldest such event in Europe. Today the Leipziger Buchmesse (detailed on LVZ’s Blog) joins the Trade Fair as the 2nd largest book fair in Europe.
You simply cannot experience Leipzig without seeing and learning about all its landmarks. Some of the most recognizable are the Thomaskirche (St. Thomas Church), the Gewandhaus opera house, and the controversial Völkerschlachtdenkmal (Battle of the Nations) monument, which commemorates the defeat of Napoleon’s armies at Leipzig in 1813. These places are only a glimpse of Leipzig’s vibrant history.
Finally, Leipzig is a city of music. Home to musical geniuses Felix Mendelssohn, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Richard Wagner, the city boasts a musical pedigree unlike any other. Today’s Gewandhaus is the third edition of the building, housing Leipzig’s unique blend of concert and theatre orchestras. The Gewandhaus has played host to a Who’s Who of musical legend: Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, and Strauss all performed here throughout its illustrious history. Today there are several statues honoring Leipzig’s musical heroes.
Today’s music scene is slightly different if you want to call it that. Leipzig is home to the world largest Gothic festival and other independent music festivals. For its penchant for new-age music, hip urbanism, and subcultural events, and also for its role in the Monday Demonstrations (the beginning of the end for the East German government), the city is awesomely nicknamed ‘Hypezig,’ with an equally great motto: “Leipzig is coming!”
Well I’m coming for you soon, Leipzig, and I can tell that we are gonna be friends.