HALLE and LEIPZIG, Germany | weekend trip to former East Germany


Leipzig is just a bit under 2 hours driving from our home and makes a great WEEKEND GETAWAY spot for us! We made this short trip in Autumn and the city really surprised me with its MODERN fancy shops, nice architecture and overall atmosphere – I must confess I expected something much less up to date. It really looked like a nice city and I could even imagine living there without feeling I ended up “just somewhere”. Not sure I could say the same thing for HALLE, but more about that part at the end of this post.

Leipzig and Halle are pretty close to each other and there is a nice smaller AIRPORT between the two towns, from where we have already flown to Sicily one time. Leipzig is a great city for a stop over if you are on a ROAD TRIP between across Germany and Czech Republic – you should definitely take a stroll if not even spend a night.

LEIPZIG | a modern city with great architecture and eastern European vibes

Leipzig is the LARGEST CITY in the German federal state called SAXONY. It´s actually pretty big and with over half a million inhabitants on the 10th place by size in the whole country. It has been an important INTERSECTION since the Roman times and was known for being a centre for music and culture throughout history. It was also one of the biggest centres in EASTERN GERMANY, before the country reunited after the Berlin wall fell.

Walking around the city you will come to the AUGUSTUSPLATZ sooner or later. It´s Leipzig´s largest square and also one of the LARGEST SQUARES IN EUROPE. Almost all of the buildings surrounding it were destroyed in the Second World War bombings – they are renewed today and besides the famous OPERA HOUSE (photo below) there is also this very modern UNIVERSITY CHURCH (photo above) built in 2007 on the same spot where once stood a church called PAULINERKIRCHE, which was destroyed in the war. The new one is much more modern but does have the same shape of the former church.

There are quite a few churches in the city with NIKOLAIKIRCHE being one of the major ones. This Romanesque church which was turned into a Gothic one and gained some baroque features later on, became famous in 1989 with the MONDAY DEMOSTRATIONS as it was an important centre of PEACEFUL REVOLT AGAINS COMMUNIST RULE. This is also one of the largest churches in Saxony.

Leipzig is not one of those towns with a big castle on the hill – nonetheless it does have a CASTLE! The GOHLISER SCHLÖSSCHEN is just a bit hidden and many do not even know about it or visit it. This smaller ROCOCO castle was used as a SUMMER RESIDENCE of Caspar Richter and is converter into a beautiful CAFE today. Worth a visit, especially if you are looking for a special place to have a “COFFEE & CAKE” at.

Leipzig really surprised us with POSH MODERN SHOPS – this seemed (an apparently it is so) like one of the biggest growing fashion centres in Europe. Did not expect to see such a big Michael Kors boutique around here, but yet again I was wrong – Leipzig is spot on when it comes to FASIHON. So many great shops in beautiful streets & corridors. Just lovely.

The streets are full on the weekends, especially the one around the old city hall (ALTES RATHAUS) where the weekend MARKET is held at. As we were there in Autumn, there were already some Christmas things to buy.

Visiting the city on a weekend is great because you will find yourself in the middle of the SATURDAY MARKET – it´s so lively and colourful! Full of street artists and little food stalls, here and there some HAND MADE  things being sold, very nice.

Love this instrument!! Never thought I will actually ever see people play it on the street ever again, but anything is possible in Leipzig.

And yeah, there he was – JIMMY KELLY from the famous KELLY FAMILY. Just like that on a Saturday morning in Leipzig. Some of the family members are still very much known in Germany and are often in TV – I was never a huge fan of them or something but I think it´s just great how they are acting very natural and just playing guitar in the streets of various German towns as if they were just normal people and not some stars who once filled up the biggest concert halls in Europe.

The “VÖLKERSCHLACHTDENKMAL”, on English the Monument to the Battle of the Nations commemorates NAPOLEON´S DEFEAT at Leipzig. The monument is 91m TALL and has over 500 STEPS to a VIEWING PLATFORM at the top with great views.

There is a nice PARK to it and it´s a great stop for a walk around with a big historical note – seemed also like a popular place to go to on a weekend afternoon as there were many locals around.

This round building used to be a GASOMETER and is now a popular place for various exhibitions. The PANOMETER was created by the artist YADEGAR ASISI who came up with the name PANOMETER by combining the words “PANORAMA” and “GASOMETER”. He has been creating the biggest panoramas in the world since 2003. The thematic diversity of his works ranges from cityscapes, via natural environments through to contemporary historical events. His works, with their three-dimensional effect of a simulation on a 1:1 SCALE, can be viewed as HYPER-REALISTIC ART SPACES.

In the time of our visit there was an incredible display of the LEIPZIG 1813 BATTLE – one walks around and up in the tower and is presented a full story of actual, events accompanied with sounds of fire and people screaming, the light show makes the 1:1 paintings come alive – REALLY INCREDIBLE! Right now, there is a GREAT BARRIER REEF exposition.

After the fall of COMMUNISM and the reunification of Germany Leipzig has undergone some drastic changes and has developed into a LIVELY CITY with great architecture which resulted out of the restoration of some historical buildings. We missed visiting the famous ZOO which is supposed to be one of the best in Europe, but personally, I´m not a huge fan of the ZOO´s in general. Anyhow, we can really say Leipzig is sooo underrated when it comes to places which tourists should visit on their trip through Germany. This is definitely the place to be right now and you should definitely put it on the “TO SEE LIST” if you are passing by.

HALLE | one of the oldest Universities in Germany

Halle is the ECONOMIC and EDUCATIONAL CENTER in the German state called SAXONY-ANHALT which hosts one of the oldest universities in Germany. Together with Leipzig, Halle forms an important metropolitan region in this part of the country.

The city itself is just average, although I did like the CENTER with the CHURCH place and a bigger market square – the PEDESTRIAN ZONE around it also made quite a nice impression. I don´t think you should put it on the usually “what to see in Germany list” but if you ant to experience a real taste of a German town which still vividly reminds one to the past this is the place to go!

All in all a great weekend! LEIPZIG definitely deserves a stop if you are passing by. We´ll be back for sure.


Halle & Leipzig Germany what to see and do

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