One of the most interesting things you can do in Leipzig is to walk inside the countless arcades of the old town. These roofed passages connect two bigger streets and they are full of shops, galleries or small cafes and restaurants. I liked the decoration in some of them. The most famous are the Mädlerpassage (pic 1) and the Specks's Hof (pic 2).
The Madler Passage, in baroque style, houses the famous Auerbachs’ Keller, the tavern where Goethe used to visit and wrote about it at his popular Faust). It is said that the shoe of one of the statues at the entrance brings good luck if you touch it!! I did it but I didnt win any lotarry that days...
The Specks Hof is one of the oldest Passage in Leipzig, nicely decorated with art nouveau elements. It is full of small shops that are packed with local people. I liked the 3 atriums of this passage.
Speck's Hof is one of those excellent passages in Leipzig's centre, which make you want to stroll, watch and buy ...
It was built 1908 - 28 and has three arcaded yards. The original Art Nouveau decoration is partly preserved - beautiful.
"Speck" was a family of merchant princes, the best known of them lived 1776 - 1856, a farmer and art lover, too. The paintings which he collected (e.g. Cranach, Dutch of 17th century, Caspar David Friedrich) are to see in Leipzig's museum of fine art.
Another one of the merchant princes's properties in the city centre is Barthel's Hof. It is not arcaded, but has a very beautiful yard.
In summer it is a wonderful charming place where you can have lunch or dinner or whatever outside (restaurant).
Most impressive is the late Gothic gable with Renaissance alcove (1523).
This is something you should definitely do - although it must be said that it is hardly to be overlooked anyway! Leipzig's centre is full of wonderful passages and courtyards telling you a lot about the city's history. It would be too much to tell you about every single passage, but two of them must be mentioned:
*Mädler Passage with the famous "Auerbach's Keller", the bar which Goethe's Faust visits with Mephisto. Don't forget to rub the shoe of one of the statues next to the entrance - it is supposed to bring luck! "Which statue?" you may ask - but this is not really a difficult question. Just look which shoe hasn't preserved its original colours!
*Specks Hof: As german_eagle puts it, "Speck's Hof is one of those excellent passages in Leipzig's centre, which make you want to stroll, watch and buy..." Hardly any additions necessary! It's one of the most magnificent passages, decorated richly in art nouveau style. Interesting shops and pleasant cafes make it my favourite passage in Leipzig.
My tip would be to just enter every passage you come across. I promise you won't be disappointed!
The Madler passage (a shopping arcade) near the centre of town is one of those "must sees". It is sophisticated, and very plesant to walk through with it's upmarket shops, cool cafes life Memphisto and the bronze statues of Faust and Mephistopheles. These statues also mark the entrance to a famous beer cellar (see other tip)
At Christmas a real effort is made, and I was impressed ; but just make one turn in the central atrium and you are into a messy, grey- tiled, 1950's, drab shopping area that would not be out of place in the Old East Germany or a windsept council development in Britain : what a contrast !
The prettiest of Leipzig’s backyards. 500 years ago a merchant had the main house built, in the 18th century it was redesigned. The ground floor and cellars contained the stores, the upper floors apartments. Horse-drawn carriages entered and left through the two gates of the courtyard which was busiest during the trade fairs.
The historical buildings including the restaurant have been restored. Fashion boutiques, arts and crafts galleries attract visitors. Access from Hainstraße/Market Square and from Fleischergasse next to Arabischer Coffebaum.
Tour guides like to compare it to Corso Vittorio Emmanuele in Milan. Mädlerpassage, erected by a certain Anton Mädler who owned a suitcase factory in 1912, is the most elegant among Leipzig’s malls. During the fairs wine and china were presented and sold here. Auerbachs Keller and the Faust statues at the entrance (see separate tip) attract about everyone who visit the city. Most don’t proceed further, they rub Faust’s foot and then turn round and leave. A walk through the whole mall is herewith recommended, though. Expect shops and prices to be upscale, but window-shopping is free…
Leipzig’s old town is full of courtyards and indoor passages among old and new houses behind the street facades. Poke your nose into any open doorway and see what you’ll find behind. The prettiest and best known among them are Mädlerpassage, Barthels Hof and Specks Hof (see separate tips) but there are many more.
Specks Hof is another of Leipzig’s old trade fair palaces. The building was first opened in 1908. In the 1990s it was restored and redesigned. Its appearance is a mix of original art nouveau and modern elements. The new decoration refers to the history of Leipzig’s fairs. The mall hosts shops and offices. Low passageways lead to the three inner courtyards – do not miss looking upwards.
More photos in my travelogue
This is very typical for Leipzig. In the center you find a lot of passages where you can shop or have a coffee. Inside you won't get soaked while it is raining.
"Mädler Passage" became popular due to Goethe. Here you find Auerbach's Keller, a tavern where Goethe used to be as a student. Here he wrote his masterpiece "Faust"
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