WGT - Leipzig City
Leipzig is a large sprawling city, with a population of over 588,000 (in 2019) and the largest city in the federal state of Saxony. It is situated at the confluence of the Rivers Pleiße, White Elster and Parthe. Leipzig has a long and varied history, although probably most famous for the famous defeat of Napoleon's army in 1813 at the 'Battle of the Nations' or 'The Battle of Leipzig' a battle of over half a million soldiers with Germans fighting on both sides, and considered the biggest battle in European history before the First World War.
Today Leipzig is well known for its university, its trade fair and conference centres, along with the large BMW car factory to the north of the city. However many tourists visit Leipzig in search of its Johann Sebastian Bach heritage and the Thomaskirche (St Thomas' Church) where he served as a director of music.
Leipzig and WGT
Its rather daunting to arrive in Leipzig at your first WGT, to a city of more than half a million people, going to a festival that is spread across many venues. However with a little bit of knowledge before you go you can more than double your experience. Getting around Leipzig is probably the key to having a successful festival, knowing where all the venues are and how long it will take to get between them will allow you to see and do more. Without WGT Leipzig is still a fascinating city that is well worth a visit, if you have time then I highly suggest that you explore the city centre and some of the museums.
A truly dynamic city where you can expect everything from world-class trade fairs and traditional German dining at its best, to outstanding operas and classical music, Leipzig is also very much a city of culture. Due to its position within the German state of Saxony, Leipzig has become an important transport hub and as such, has attracted many major organisation, which now operate and trade within Leipzig city centre.
Leipzig is a city of rivers and retains much of its historic character, being founded around 1,000 years ago. This is particularly apparent when you pay a visit to the University of Leipzig (home to around 30,000 students), which dates back to the early 15th century and is amongst the most historic universities in the whole of Europe.
Geographically Leipzig is situated 118m above sea level and sits at the top of the Saxony triangle that is formed by the towns of Zwickau, Chemnitz and (the capital of Saxony) Dresden.
Central Leipzig boasts an array of medieval fortifications and is surrounded by a busy ring road. Tourism is always encouraged here and the city offers a popular discount card scheme, whereby tourists are able to save money when travelling on public transport and visiting the city's many cultural and tourist attractions. The Leipzig Card is available from the city's tourist information centre, on the Richard-Wagner Strasse should you be in Leipzig outside of the WGT period.
An extremely tourist friendly city with plenty of sightseeing for everyone, Leipzig has much to offer. Many families particularly enjoy a visit to Leipzig Zoo (Zoologischer Garten), which is divided into themed areas and boasts an enjoyable safari train and plenty of educational information. Others may be lucky enough to enjoy a concert at either the Opera House (Opernhaus Leipzig) or the enormous Arena Leipzig, while for soccer fans a match at the recently updated Central Stadium (Zentralstadion) will be memorable, especially when the stadium is full to capacity with 40,000 spectators. Those with a love of horticulture will be sure to enjoy the colours at the Leipzig Botanical Gardens (Botanischer Gartens), which were first established some 500 years ago.
The bustling Market Square (Markt) is also not to be missed, and is home to Leipzig's historic Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus). Other notable landmarks in Leipzig include the striking New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus), a grand building built in 1905 and boasting around a staggering 600 rooms. Also look out for the Aussichtsturm tower, the enormous Main Train Station (Hauptbahnhof Leipzig), the beautiful 12th-century Nikolaikirche (St. Nicholas Cathedral), and also the Völkerschlachtdenkmal War Memorial, the biggest structure of its kind in the whole of Europe.
For a taste of culture and information about the city's interesting past, Leipzig is home to many impressive museums, together with a good selection of galleries. Particularly popular is the University of Leipzig's Grassi Museum, which is situated close to the Augustusplatz and comprises three separate museums, the Museum of Applied Arts, the Museum of Ethnology and the popular Museum of Musical Instruments. For Egyptian artefacts and information, the Agyptisches Museum der Universitat Leipzig (Museum of Egyptology) is worth a look, while for city information the Stadtgeschichtliches Museum (Museum of Local History) contains over 200,000 items of local significance. For art lovers visiting Leipzig, both the Museum der Bildenden Künste (Museum of Fine Arts) and the Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst (Gallery of Contemporary Art) are worth a look.
Visitors staying in Leipzig will find plenty of tourist appeal outside of the city itself. Nearby, the famous town of Colditz is visited by many tourists, while for families, the neighbouring Belantis Amusement Park and its fast roller coasters offer the perfect day out. Also close to Leipzig, many further sightseeing opportunities are to be found within the cities of Delitzsch, Merseburg and Zwickau, all of which are popular excursions in their own right.
More Leipzig Information
Location: Federal State of Saxony (Western Saxony)
Status: city (largest in state)
Area: approximately 115 square miles / 297 square kilometres
Population: approximately 588,000
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Time zone: GMT + 1 hour
Electricity: 220 Volts AC, 50 Hz - flat two-pin plugs or third round pin are used, adaptors may be necessary in Germany
Country dialling code: +49
Telephone area code: 0341
Average daily Leipzig January temperature: 2°C / 36°F
Average daily Leipzig July temperature: 23°C / 73°F