Monday, May 12, 2008


Oh the Germans and their religious holidays...we got Pentecost off (as well as the Monday afterwards). So I took my long weekend and went to Leipzig.

I actually hadn't been to East Germany yet this year, so it was good. It's hard to make generalizations and make observations about the differences without a lot of qualifications. But one thing that's typical is that there is a lot of change in construction. The landscape of former Eastern cities are very different.

In the time of the GDR the state put up huge apartment blocks in order to provide housing for all their citizens. You can still see remnants of these (I also saw them outside Berlin). But there is also a mix of communist-looking buildings, older buildings and modern buildings in the city as well. So a lot of change. A lot of buildings that are totally rundown. Leipzig (like Berlin as well) has housing to accommodate thousands more people than actually reside there. So lots of empty buildings, cheap rent.

For me Leipzig is most interesting because of their historical role in the 1980s. (And Leipzig has an amazing historical museum which I went to with great exhibits showing their history since 1945.)

Leipzig was a key place that that resistance to the GDR government met and demonstrated. Mostly, towards the end of 1989, they were protesting their lack of freedom to travel and lack of freedom of speech (it actually wasn't allowed to protest the government, so they gathered for "prayer sessions" in the Nikolaikirche in Leipzig.)

These Montagsdemontrationen (they met every Monday) got HUGE up until Nov 9, 1989 (fall of the Berlin Wall).

Another highlight for me on the Leipzig trip was getting to see a huge war memorial put up in 1913 to commemorate the fall of Napoleon just outside of Leipzig. Crazy...

Again, pictures to come later, hopefully.

1 comment:

  1. What does a communist-looking building actually look like? Did you take a picture??