I arrived in Leipzig on a Friday morning, after a one-hour train ride from Berlin. After checking into the 5-star Hotel Fuerstenhof, I start making my way through the city. And indeed, Leipzig is made for walking. The Old Town is compact and easy to navigate; bordered by a ring-shaped street (called Troendlingring and Dittrichring), most of Leipzig’s sights and attractions are within that historic heart of the city.
“Markt”, the main square of Leipzig, is dominated by the beautiful Renaisance City Hall; the adjacent historic arcades, passageways, and inner courtyards, which date back to the 18th and 19th century, are not only architectural gems but great for window shopping; don’t miss the Speck’s Hof, the oldest arcade in Leipzig (Reichsstrasse 4-6), Maedler Passage, which is reminiscent of Milan’s Galleria Arcade (Grimmaische Strasse 3–4/Neumarkt 14), and Barthels Hof (Markt 8 and Hainstrasse 1).
I head to Leipzig’s most iconic church, St. Thomas Church. Dating back to 1212, this was the church of Johann Sebastian Bach; the grand composer worked here as a cantor for 27 years, 11 of his 20 children were baptized here, and the remains of the great composer are buried below the altar.
Outside St. Thomas Church, an impressive statue of the composer looks into the direction of the newly extended Bach Museum, where an interactive multi-media exhibition explores the life and work of the famous composer and his family. Highlight of the museum is the “Treasure Chamber”, where Bach’s handwritten cantata manuscripts are displayed. And of course, there’s a lot to hear; throughout the museum, visitors can rest at listening stations playing every composition Bach has ever created. (Thomaskirchhof 18)
A couple of streets down from the church and the museum, I discover a moving Holocaust memorial – 40 golden empty chairs that have been arranged in the empty space where the former Leipzig Synagogue once stood (Gottschedstrasse/Zentralstrasse).