Leipzig is a city situated between heaven and hell. On one hand there is the heavenly religious music of Johann Sebastian Bach resounding in the beautiful churches, leading the listeners towards the sky, elevating one’s spirit. While on the other hand, there’s the underground den of pleasures, called Auerbachs Keller, where you eat and drink, and meet Mephistopheles himself, or at least an actor in costume, going from table to table reciting verses from Goethe’s Faust.You see, this is the first place the demon wanted to show to Faust during his trips.
The first time I visited Leipzig I was really impressed by this renowned city of culture, of publishing houses, of famous composers (in addition to Bach –Wagner, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Telemann are all connected with the city one way or another), of a very old and prestigious University. Unfortunately Leipzig suffered the fate of all East German cities and was deprived of some of its most historical buildings which were replaced by ugly modern ones, as was the habit of the socialist regime.
The city’s recent dark past can be re-lived in the House of the Round Corner, former HQ of the notorious Stasi. The museum is free and visitors get an idea of what it felt like to be a dissident at the time.
Two decades have gone by and a lot of money has been invested in the “face lift” of Leipzig, gradually returning to its former glory.
In the last four years it’s obvious that the city has been booming as more and more young people come here to study, live and work. In the pedestrian zone of city centre, aspiring artists play music, sing, and dance for a few euros and the people of Leipzig seem to have a soft spot for everything original.
The weather can be very cold at times in this part of Germany and the demonstrations of the extreme-right supporters are not a pretty sight, but all in all Leipzig is a very fine city, trying to find its balance between heaven and hell.
First published at http://leipglo.de/2016/04/25/leipzig-somewhere-heaven-hell/