Markranstädt is a town in the Leipzig district half way from Lutzen. It is situated 11 km southwest of Leipzig and 7 km northeast of Lutzen.
The National Roads B 87 and B 186 also intersect in the area of the town.
The first documentary mention of Markranstädt was in 1285 as the seat of a court.
You will see the St. Laurentius Town Church and Altranstädt Castle (Schloss Altranstädt) there.
Markranstädt had its brush with world history on the 23rd July 1807, as Napoléon Bonaparte stayed overnight in the guesthouse "Zum Rosenkranz".
In the course of the Battle of the Nations in 1813 the town was once again adversely affected.
This "small castle or palace" (which is what "Schloesschen" means) is not far from the Schiller House. It was built in 1754-1756 as the summer residence of a city councilman and merchant named Johann Caspar Richter. It is now used as a venue for cultural events.
The Leipzig Opera puts on monthly recitals here on Sunday afternoons, each featuring a different ?singer from the ensemble. Today for instance (April 17, 2005) there is a recital by the American tenor Stanley Jackson, who is one of the newer ensemble members.
The address is Menckestrasse 23. Take the tram # 4 (get off at Menckestrasse) or # 12 (get off at Fritz-Seger-Strasse).
This mansion (locals refer to it as "Schlösschen", the diminutive of "palace") is a gem of Saxon Rococo architecture. Built 1755/56 for the merchant Johann Caspar Richter and re-decorated inside by Adam F. Oeser in the 1770s it is the only remaining of dozens of such mansions.
A jewel is the festive hall with a very beautiful fresco by Oeser on the ceiling. Also very beautiful is the garden which is mostly accessible (free) during the day time (restaurant in the garden wing).
They often host classical concerts (see website). Guided tours on Wednesdays 3 pm and Sundays 11 am, otherwise the mansion is closed.
Visiting the Schiller House & Museum is not only worth your time if you're a fan of the German writer. The architecture of the house alone and the surrounding makes it worthwhile. The house is a typical farmer's house built in 1717. Small, cute, well preserved with a nice garden in the back - and it is the only one remaining of that type, all the others were torn down in the 19th century and replaced by larger (beautiful) apartment houses/blocks.
Schiller spent a summer here in 1785, happy with his group of friends drinking and partying and sometimes working - he apparently finished the "Ode to Joy" and worked on "Don Carlos" here.
Address: Menckestraße 42, Leipzig-Gohlis
April-Oct Tue - Sun 10-18 h
Nov-Mar Wed - Sun 10-16 h
Several events every month.
This is the name of the University Library which was founded in 1543 and thus the second oldest in Germany. The actual building was erected 1887-91 (architect Arwed Rossbach) in Neo-Renaissance/-Baroque style. It is a very beautiful building with a sandstone facade, decorated with works of art (statues!). In WWII it was partially destroyed but restored to old beauty in the 1990s. Have a look at the magnificent staircase and the new exhibition room (always some original old manuscripts on display) at least. Guided tours on first Saturday each month.
Opening hours: Mo-Fr 8 am - 10 pm, Sat 10 am - 7 pm
Beethovenstraße 6, 04107 Leipzig
(a few blocks southwest of the old town)
The largest of the churches in historistic styles that were built in Leipzig after 1860 is St. Peter south of the old town. It was designed after the Gothic French cathedrals. Like the cathedral in Cologne in is built of sandstone and thus the exterior as well as the interior is rather dark. A recently started renovation is supposed to help the appearance but it won't be finshed until 2010 (I doubt it).
The acoustics of the church are very good, hence it is often place of concerts - like when I visited. It was officially closed but I could sneak in and have a quick look. I was impressed by the sheer size of the church and the quality of the art works but otherwise it left me rather cold.
The German writer Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805) spent the summer of 1785 in this farmhouse in what was then a village and is now the Leipzig district of Gohlis.
He was there at the invitation of some Leipzig friends and admirers, who even paid his stage coach fare to get here from Mannheim. This was necessary because he had lost his job at the theater in Mannheim (his one-year contract wasn't renewed), and after various other setbacks he was totally destitute.
The summer here was one of the happiest in his life, and this is where he wrote his famous "Ode to Joy", which was later used by the composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1857) as the text for the triumphant vocal passage at the end of his Ninth Symphony. (While writing these tips I am listening to a recording of this symphony by the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig, conducted by its long-time music director Kurt Masur.)
In this house Schiller also wrote parts of the second act of his now-classic drama Don Carlos, which was later made into one of the world's greatest operas by composer Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901).
In 1785 Schiller no doubt had a better view from his bedroom window than we have today.
The Grassi Museum building actually hosts three different museums: The Museum of Decorative Arts, the Ethnological Museum and the Music Instruments Museum.
I must admit I have not made it yet in *any* of the three museums. Shame on me. I have always been too tired from sightseeing when I finally arrived at the Grassi. LOL I only wandered the grounds of the building (Art Deco, built 1927) and the old Johannis Cemetery (10 am - 6 pm, Nov-Feb only until 4 pm) that is located behind the Grassi. It's an interesting cemetery with some nice tombs and a park-like design (not used anymore).
Despite not having been inside I can give you the stats on the museums here:
Opening hours: Tue - Sun 10 am to 6 pm
Johannisplatz 5-11, just a few minutes to walk from Augustusplatz. Tram 4, 7, 12, 15 (Johannisplatz)
Leipzig as *the* city of books was perfect for housing the German National Library and thus 1914-16 architect Oskar Pusch built the "Deutsche Bücherei" where every book in German language was planned to be collected and available for everyone. After WWII with two German countries and Leipzig being located in the communist East Germany it was only logical that West Germany founded a "Deutsche Bibliothek" in Frankfurt/Main. Both Natinal Libraries existed parallel to each other until the Re-Unification 1990. Only then they were connected.
The building is very interesting for fans of architecture. The facade shows elements of Art Deco and Art Nouveau. The entrance hall is decorated with Art Nouveau style mosaics of young reading women. A staircase leads up to the impressive Grand Reading Hall where you find 60'000 books on wooden shelves.
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 8 am - 10 pm, Sat 9 am - 6 pm
Deutscher Platz 1
Tram 2, 16 (stop Deutsche Bücherei)
In one of the side wings you find the German Book and Script Museum (Mon - Sat 9 am - 4 pm) where you can see old print machines and scripts.
This Russian-Orthodox church was built to commemorate the 22'000 Russian soldiers killed in the Battle of Nations in 1813.
The church was erected 1912/13 according to plans of a Russian and two Leipzig architects, designed after the model of the Ascension-of-Christ-Church in Moscow-Kolomenskoye (1530-32). The tall building (like a tower) with golden onion-like dome is beautifully decorated in Art-Deco style. Inside you see a huge Ikonostasis (height 18 m). The chandelier was donated by the Tsar. Unfortunately the crypt with tombs of killed Russian Generals and soldiers is not available.
Opening hours daily 10 am - 1.15 pm/ 2 pm - 5 pm
Tram 2,16 (stop Deutsche Bücherei)
The composer Robert Schumann lived in this house 1840 - 44. Two of his children were born here and the few years in this house were some of his most productive ones. Fortunately the building survived - one of the few - the bombings in WWII. It is now restored and on the second floor you can visit the former apartment of Robert Schumann and Clara Wieck. Don't expect much, it is a small museum, just a few rooms, but interesting with a nice exhibit on his life and a small room where chamber music concerts take place on a regular basis.
open Wed - Fri 2 pm - 5 pm, Sat/Sun 10 am - 5 pm
admission fee 3 €
This traditional theater in the Lindenau district now belongs to the Leipzig Opera and is their venue for musicals, operettas and light operas.
After the destruction of the old Leipzig Opera House (which confusingly enough was known as the New Theater), the Haus Dreilinden had to serve as the main opera venue from 1944 to 1960, when the present opera house on Karl-Marx-Platz (now Augustusplatz) was opened.
When I was there they were advertising one of my favorite light operas, Martha by Friedrich von Flotow, which I have seen in Darmstadt and Detmold but not yet in Leipzig.
The address is Dreilindenstraße 30. Take the tram number 3, 7, 8, 13 or 15 and get off at "Straßenbahnhof Angerbrücke".
Update: For most of the year 2007, until November 11, Dreilinden is again serving as a substitute opera venue while the main opera house is being modernized and repaired.
Of course this wasn't called the "Schiller House" at the time, because he was just a summer guest. It was probably called the Schneider House because it belonged to a farming family of that name. But the only reason this house has survived -- it is the only remaining 18th century farmhouse in Leipzig -- is because of Schiller's visit.
The fancy gateway (at the edge of the photo on the right) was not a part of the original farmhouse. It was erected in 1841 as a tribute to Schiller. In 1856 it was torn down on the grounds that it was totally unauthentic in a farming village, but in 1911 it was built up again in a phase when authenticity didn't seem so important, and by that time Gohlis was no longer a farming village anyway, but a residential neighborhood of Leipzig.
I hope I'm not being too unfair to the city of Leipzig by posting pictures of derelict buildings -- this is the last one, I promise.
This particular building is located right at the tram stop Straßenbahnhof Angerbrücke, which is where you would get off to go see a musical or operetta at Haus Dreilinden. It must have been a beautiful building in its day, and may well be again if anyone ever gets around to restoring it.
There is a lot of construction work going on in this neighborhood, for instance they are renovating and modernizing the tram depot which is right across the street from here.
Here's another alternative venue that belongs to the Leipzig Opera. This one is at the back of the opera house on the east side, i.e. the Post Office side.
Here they have seats for 99 spectators. They do smaller experimental productions in the Kellertheater, and also operas for and by children, featuring the Leipzig Children's Chorus, for instance "King Midas" and "The Race between the Rabbit and the Hedgehog".
Also there are performances with piano accompaniment of forgotten operas such as Jessonda by Louis Spohr. This is an opera which was first performed in 1823 and was quite popular for about thirty years after that, before gradually sinking into oblivion.
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