In Goethe’s Faust, a character named Frosch calls Leipzig ‘a little Paris’. He was wrong – Leipzig is more fun and infinitely less self-important than the Gallic capital. It’s an important business and transport centre, a trade-fair mecca, and – aside from Berlin – the most dynamic city in eastern Germany. Relatively low rent and throbbing nightlife are making it an attractive place for young people.
Culture has been big in Leipzig for centuries. After all, Bach's one-time backyard was also where Wagner was born and Mendelssohn-Bartholdy ran a music academy. To this day one of the world's top classical bands (the Gewandhausorchester) and oldest and finest boys choirs (the 800-year-old Thomanerchor) continue to delight audiences. Since 2012, a new tourist trail called Leipziger Notenspur, links key sites in the city's musical history. When it comes to art, the neo-realistic New Leipzig School has stirred up the international art world with such protagonists as Neo Rauch and Tilo Baumgärtel for well over 10 years.
Leipzig became known as the Stadt der Helden (City of Heroes) for its leading role in the 1989 ‘Peaceful Revolution’. Its residents organised protests against the communist regime in May of that year; by October, hundreds of thousands were taking to the streets and a few years later, the Cold War was history.
Leipzig destination guides
Tom Hall's travel picks for 2011
What's in store for travel in and around Europe in 2011? Here are some suggestions to get you booking that ticket. London. Sorry to bang on but you’d better get used to it. There’ll be no escaping the world’s British capital next year as it provides the perfect setting for the Royal Wedding.