Top choice in Leipzig

This church has Romanesque and Gothic roots, but since 1797 has sported a striking neoclassical interior with palm-like pillars and cream-coloured pews. While the design is certainly gorgeous, the church is most famous for playing a key role in the nonviolent movement that led to the downfall of the East German government. As early as 1982 it hosted ‘peace prayers’ every Monday at 5pm (still held today), which over time inspired and empowered local citizens to confront the injustices plaguing their country.

Starting in September 1989, the prayers were followed by candlelight demonstrations, which reached their peak on 9 October when 70,000 citizens took to the streets. The military, police and secret police stood ready to suppress the protests, as they had so violently done only two days earlier. But the order never came. The GDR leadership had capitulated. A singular palm-topped column outside the church commemorates this peaceful revolution.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Leipzig attractions

1. Richard-Wagner-Museum

0.03 MILES

This museum documenting Wagner's formative years in Leipzig, opened in his former school in 2013, provides a detailed overview of the composer's…

2. Kroch-Haus

0.07 MILES

Leipzig's first 'skyscraper', the 11-storey Kroch-Haus is topped by a clock and two muscular bronze sentries, who bash the bell at regular intervals; the…

3. Zeitgeschichtliches Forum

0.12 MILES

This fascinating, enormous and well-curated exhibit covers the political history of the GDR, from division and dictatorship to fall-of-the-Wall ecstasy…

4. Paulinum

0.12 MILES

Looking like an airport terminal devouring a Gothic cathedral, Leipzig University's main building is a boldly postmodern tribute to the 13th-century…

5. Augustusplatz

0.13 MILES

Massive Augustusplatz may look nondescript at best, and foreboding at worst, but it is actually flanked by some of Leipzig's most famous buildings,…

6. Stadtgeschichtliches Museum

0.14 MILES

Leipzig's beautiful Renaissance town hall is an atmospheric setting to recount the twists and turns of the city's history from its roots as a key medieval…

7. Stadtgeschichtliches Museum - Neubau

0.17 MILES

A modern extension to the Stadtgeschichtliches Museum, the nearby Neubau presents quality temporary exhibits, and is included on the combined ticket …

8. Schwanenteich

0.18 MILES

This pretty pond surrounded by trees backs onto Leipzig's opera house and is a charming place to wander.