Eastern Germany: Leipzig, (Berlin and Dresden)

We started the third and final leg of our road trip in Dresden and drove to Leipzig via Chemnitz. We did not take the shortest road but decided to visit Chemnitz (formerly known as Karl Marx Stadt), only to see one thing: the Karl Marx monument: the so called “Nischl. The bust is huge, 13 meters high and it weighs approximately 40 tonnes. On the wall behind the monument it reads ” Workers of all countries unite” in four languages, Russian, German, French and English. It is the second largest bust in the world. Apparently some Russian town holds a bust of Lenin which is slightly larger.

The monument remained intact even after the reunification albeit that Karl Marx Stadt returned to its former name Chemnitz.

Leipzig

Leipzig is the city of Bach, Wagner and Mendelsohn. Street musicians play classical music on the squares instead of popular music and the city is clearly proud of its musical heritage with a number of specialized museums. Bach is the greatest of all classical composers and some of his most well known music was created in this city. He was for a number of years the musical director of the Saint Thomas Kirche where he is also buried. Next to this church there is a statue in his honor.

We visited the church and burned two candles as one does while visiting a church. The candles were not the only thing that burned, while I was walking away it appeared that my sweater was on fire as well. No harm done but it would have been quite the story if we would have burnt down a church that dates back to the 12th century. Of course we visited the Bach museum as well. It is worthwhile the visit.

The street musicians in Leipzig are different from other towns. Not only do they play classical music some of them are also much better dressed.

The next day we visited the museum that remembered the DDR including attention on the Stasi (the DDR secret service). Very good exhibition and not very crowded. The sculpture (called “Jahrhundertschritt”) in front of the museum described the past situation of East Germany.

Not quite clear what it represent but it shows National Socialism (the right arm forward) and Communism (the fist) and as a result man has no room for himself.

The fall of the DDR in 1989 started in Leipzig, in fact it started as a small and peaceful demonstrations which gathered at the Nicolai church. Over a number of weeks these demonstrations spread as wildfire over the country and let to the end of this communist state. The Nicolai church is still standing firmly and has secured its place in history.

The Nicolai church is just one of many pretty old buildings in the city. Of course some of these buildings might have had a rough ride over the past 75 years but they have been restored nicely.

Altes Rathaus
Neues Rathaus
Alte Börse

One final word of caution. Without debt Germany is the producer of the best beer in the world. However, this does not mean that all German beer tastes good. Today I had a local beer called Gose. Next to the standard ingredients, coriander and salt were added to the beer. Not a good idea! Better stick to Kölsch, Freiburger, Warsteiner or many of the other tasty beers.

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