In 1813, the Leipzig region was the arena for the Battle of the Nations in which an allied coalition of Austria, Prussia, Russia and Sweden defeated Napoleon's armies as part of the so-called Wars of Liberation. Leipzig's Monument to the Battle of the Nations ('Völkerschlachtdenkmal') is Europe's tallest monument. By the 19th century, Leipzig was a centre of the publishing industry and continues to grow today. German reunification and the subsequent currency union resulted in heavy financial losses for Leipzig, which impacted trade and industry in particular. Since that time, Leipzig has had to deal with mass unemployment despite successfully attracting some industrial development.
Living in Leipzig
More people live below the poverty line in Leipzig than in any other German city, making it 'Germany's poorest city'. After reunification, many industrial companies in Leipzig were unable to compete with long-established industrial locations in the west of Germany and even the presence of groups such as BMW and Porsche has not encouraged enough other companies to relocate here. Despite the poverty, the city centre contains smart boutiques, jewellers and delis. Anyone earning good money in Leipzig will find that it goes a long way here.
Many houses in Leipzig are empty which means that rents are well below the national average. Leipzig is full of beautiful old buildings and baroque townhouses that can be rented or bought very cheaply. In addition to attractive architecture, Leipzig has many bridges - more than Venice even!
Leipzig has a special musical tradition. The world-renowned St. Thomas Choir of Leipzig was founded 800 years ago and Johann Sebastian Bach was its most famous director. The Gewandhaus concert hall, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and Leipzig Opera House, the third oldest opera venue in Europe, are also great cultural assets. The famous composer Felix Mendelssohn lived in Leipzig for many years and founded the Conservatory of Music, now the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy University of Music and Theatre.
Typical aspects of Leipzig
Leipzig is Germany's second biggest banking location after Frankfurt am Main and also hosts Germany's second largest book fair, again after Frankfurt. A total of 25 trade shows are held in Leipzig every year.
Goethe was fascinated by the city where he studied law for three years. He called Leipzig 'Little Paris' because he was excited by its stylishness and the way its people were educated. Leipzig even forms the backdrop to a scene in Goethe's Faust in which Mephistopheles bewitches four students. The scene takes place in Auerbachs Keller, Leipzig's most well-known cellar wine bar and restaurant. There is a statue of Faust and Mephistopheles outside the establishment and it is said that touching Mephistopheles' shoe brings luck - and that anyone who doesn't believe this will have seven years' bad luck.