Leipzig has been spared much of the communist legacy of the East German days, unlike some of its nearby cities. What remains has either been demolished, or prettied up by painting colorful murals on the side of the ugly square concrete office blocks. Also, instead of the endless concrete grey tower blocks of East Berlin, the outskirts of Leipzig consist of elegant turn of the century buildings flanking wide boulevards.
Even what evidence of communism remains is not so bad, like the Hochhaus, and it could pass for any number of office blocks built in the West during the same period. You probably wouldn't even notice it was from the communist era, if it wasn't for the monument to workers that you can see in Augustusplatz (see picture).
Like many towns and cities in East Germany there are still a number of old East German cars around to give the city a unique flavour, especially those filthy old Trabants.
Despite not having a football team worthy of a few thousand supporters, Leipzig has a fantastic modern stadium with a capacity of 44,000 seats. The stadium is a graceful construction, built inside the famous old Lokomotiv Leipzig ground.
Literally. The old stadium, which had a massive 100,000 capacity, was basically a hole dug in the ground. The new stadium sits within this cauldron, with bridges carrying you across the old and decaying seats to the shiny new stadium within it.
The reason for such an impressive new stadium, when the only team to play in it languishes in the depths of Germany's regional divisions, is that Leipzig was chosen, possibly diplomatically, to be one of the cities to host World Cup games.
I say diplomatically, because since re-unification it has been an uncomfortable sign of the East German states' inability to compete with the west that their football teams have largely disappeared into the abyss of regional football, including the likes of European CWC winners FC Magdeburg, and runners-up Carl-Zeis-Jena.
The only other East German city picked for the World Cup was Berlin, and their main team Hertha Berlin is the only team from the eastern states to compete in the Bundesliga. Of course, Hertha Berlin are not a former East German team. They are from West Berlin.
I was there to watch the Angola vs Iran game in the World Cup, a minor game but a major effort to get tickets for. The stadium provided a fantastic atmosphere. Because it is small, and has been designed to focus the noise of the crowd back into the stadium, the atmosphere was electric even when the crowd were relatively quiet.
Trams and buses
For a first time visitor it probably won't be cost-efficient to buy a day ticket for public transportation but if you're in Leipzig for the second or third time or stay for more than just two days you should consider getting a pass for public transportation. The tram and bus network is excellent. Included in the network are also the S-Bahn (commuting) trains.
A single day ticket for the central zone (city Leipzig) is 5 Euro. A single trip fare is good for one hour and costs 2 Euro.
Have a coffee or tea at the Cafe Riquet, a lovely corner buiding with fanciful Oriental decorations inside and out. Every now and then you can listen to live piano music in the first floor. Try the Tea! Delicious!
This is a 17th century Baroque house which is the Bach museum with a lot of information about this wonderful composer.There are archives and documents about him and also a collection of musical instruments from his day. As lovers of his music this was a must for us.
open daily 10 - 5