Map of Germany showing Leipzig
Leipzig [ˈlaiptsɪç] (Polish; Sorbian/Lusatian: Lipsk) is the largest city in the federal state (Bundesland) of Saxony in Germany. The name is derived from the Slavic word (see Sorbian) Lipsk (settlement where the linden trees stand). It is situated at the confluence of the rivers Pleiße , White Elster and Parthe . Leipzig's population, which peaked at 750,000 before the second world war, has diminished to just about 500,000 by 2002.
First documented in 1015 (originally a Slavic settlement), and endowed with city and market privileges in 1165, Leipzig has always been known as a place of commerce. The Leipzig Trade Fair became an event of international importance; especially as a point of contact to the East-European economic bloc (Comecon) of which East Germany was a member.
The foundation of the University of Leipzig in 1409 initiated the city's development into a center of the publishing industry, and towards being a location of the German National Library (founded in 1912). Johann Sebastian Bach worked in Leipzig from 1723 to 1750, at the St. Thomas church . In 1813, the Leipzig region was the arena of the Battle of the Nations. In 1913 a monument celebrating this event was finished.
Having been a terminal of the first German long distance railroad (1838, to Dresden, the capital of Saxony), Leipzig became a hub of Central-European railroad traffic, with a renowned station building, now the largest passenger train station in Europe.
The first German labour party, the General German Workers' Association (in German Allgemeiner Deutscher Arbeiterverein, ADAV) was founded in Leipzig on 23 May 1863 by Ferdinand Lassalle; about 600 workers from across Germany travelled to it using the new railway line.
Nobel prize laureate Werner Heisenberg worked as a physics professor at Leipzig University from 1927 to 1942.
The city was heavily damaged by Allied bombing during World War II.
American troops captured the city on April 20 1945, on Adolf Hitler's 56th and final birthday. The US later ceded the city to the Red Army, and it was one of the major cities of East Germany.
In 1989 after prayers for peace at the Nikolai Church (established in 1983 as part of the peace-movement) the Monday demonstrations started as the most prominent mass event that led to democratisation and later on to the German reunification.
Leipzig was also the German candidate for the 2012 Summer Olympics, but didn't make it into the final list of bidders.
Mein Leipzig lob' ich mir! Es ist ein klein Paris und bildet seine Leute. (I praise my Leipzig! It is a small Paris and educates its people.) -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in Faust
Leipzig is twinned with Birmingham, England and Houston, Texas.
Among Leipzig's noteworthy institutions are also the Gewandhaus Orchestra, the opera house, Oper Leipzig, and the Leipzig Zoo , which houses the world's largest facilities for primates.
The new sports stadium, view across the Elster channel