By Ron Stern, Travel Photojournalist
Located in the East German state of Saxony at the confluence of three rivers, Leipzig has always been a historically important city. Many notable figures have lived here, and its citizens were instrumental in bringing about the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. Today, while still honoring its past, Leipzig is steering a clear course toward a vibrant future in the arts, culture, cuisine, and tourism.
Bach was, forgive the pun, instrumental in the early development of the St. Thomas Church Choir and was also its conductor from 1723- 1750. Today, the St. Thomas Boys’ Choir of Leipzig honors Bach in its repertoire and delights audiences all over the world. Cantinas can be heard here every Friday and Saturday.
In recent years, Leipzig has emerged as a tourist mecca with museums, restaurants, and historical sites to explore. One such area that is being reclaimed is known as the Spinnerei. Situated in an industrial zone and constructed with tons of red bricks, the building was once the largest cotton mill in Europe. Today, it houses 12 galleries and around 100 artists’ studios.
The so-called coffee culture is in full brew mode here, and the Zum Arabischen Coffe Baum is one of the oldest surviving coffee houses in Europe. Bach, Goethe, and Robert Schumann are among its famous guests.
You will never go hungry as Leipzig has more than 1400 pubs and restaurants as well as sidewalk cafes. The most famous restaurant in Leipzig is Auerbachs Keller, mentioned in Goethe’s Faust. Located downstairs in a shopping arcade, this establishment was started as a wine bar for students. Its origins can be traced perhaps all the way back to 1438. Nowadays, they serve local cuisine, and their roulade with red cabbage and dumplings among the best you will find anywhere.