Leipzig - Home Town of Johann Sebastian Bach

After a short ride from Berlin, through the green countryside of Saxony, we arrived in Leipzig.

Our hostel, Schlafgut (Sleep Good), was just a few blocks away from the Hauptbahnhof so we walked there and checked in. Reaching our room on the 4th floor, we soon realized that we had entertainment across the street - a massive construction project with five construction cranes and plenty of action (and noise) from dawn to after dark.

Never mind, we settled in and spent the next eight days exploring this city of 520,000 folks. Johann Sebastian Bach was cantor at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig for 27 years. His life and work are examined and explained at the wonderful Bach Museum, where,with earphones, visitors may listen to a wide selection of his music, too. The same day we visited the museum, we attended an organ concert at the Thomaskirche to experience Bach's music in the church where he had played. Amazing!

Another famous resident, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, lived here with his wife and family while he was the conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. His home, an apartment in a townhouse, was the center of Leipzig's music scene and still offers small ensemble concerts on Sundays. We enjoyed a recital by a young, talented and very personable pianist.

But this city's history also includes the dark days of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR). To understand a bit more of what life was like then, we visited the headquarters of the Ministry for State Security (Stasi), now a documentation centre, where surveillance and eavesdropping equipment were still sitting in offices. On a momentous evening back in October 1989, on the steps of this building, the people of Leipzig left lighted candles in a peaceful revolution that soon resulted in the fall of the Berliner Mauer, the Wall.

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