Grab your passport Travel Freaks, we’re taking a trip to Leipzig, Germany to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Peaceful Revolution in this week’s Wild Wednesday Column. Before our journey begins, let us take a moment to pause, to remember those lost, and send our blessings to the families of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 and 370.
May your hearts find peace in the smiles and cherished memories of your loved ones.
Do you remember where you were in the Fall 1989? Perhaps, you were one of the 70,000 people who gathered on 9th October in Leipzig for the Peaceful Revolution. The SED regime was in rule, or so they thought. What they did not anticipate was the unexpected gathering of thousands. Then, the voices began to rise, louder and louder, until one voice spoke out, “We are the people!” While others shouted, “No violence!”
The scene of the crowd praying for peace in St. Nicholas Church, and the Monday demonstrations on the inner city ring road were broadcast around the world. This was a historic moment for the citizens of Leipzig. They did not know it then, but their demonstrations of unity would later pave the path to a reunited Germany. A month later in November 1989, the Berlin Wall fell. It did not collapse under the pressure of grenades, tanks, or missiles; it started with the voices in Leipzig. Then, resonated across the country until on that chilly November day, a divided country came together and began tearing down the Berlin Wall; piece by piece.
Leipzig’s citizens proved a Peaceful Revolution can work. It is not an easy path to walk. Yet, when united, our voices are heard around the world, and change can happen. As Leipzig celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Peaceful Revolution you can embrace these moment’s in history by visiting the authentic sites in the region:
Artists Honor Citizens of the Peaceful Revolution at the St. Nicholas Church
Stand outside St. Nicholas Church to view the Light Installation by artist Tilo Schulz. Tilo uses light as a metaphor for the active citizens’ determination in Leipzig, and reflects the process of situational awakening of political awareness. You can also follow in the footsteps of those who prayed for peace at the St. Nicholas Church. In the churchyard artist Andreas Stötzer has created a monument to honor those who prayed for peace with a classical column motif from the church interior. At the time, there were so many people gathered to pray for peace that they could not all get into the church, and they are represented by the column. The Sculptor, Markus Gläser, designed and created the work as well as the bronze plate set into the paving. The footprints you’ll discover point towards Augustusplatz and symbolize unity with the feet at the Leipzig inner ring road.
The “Runde Ecke” Memorial Museum
The “Runde Ecke” Memorial Museum is now located in the building where for 40 years the Stasi secret police had its headquarters for the district of Leipzig. Learn how they operated and their history. Then, visit the Forum of Contemporary History, where you’ll also discover a interactive exhibition that illustrates the history of division and unification, dictatorship and resistance in the Soviet occupied zone and the GDR.
The Leipzig Archive of the Civic Movement
The Leipzig Archive of the Civic Movement is home to the permanent exhibition “Citizens on the Move” that accounts the events in Leipzig that led to the Peaceful Revolution. From the first openly effective protest on 15 January 1989 up to the decisive demonstration on 9 October 1989 are documented.
Join Leipzig Festivals
Leipzig’s history recognizes what is possible when we unite as one. And, many of their festivals unite us through music as the Bachfest does in Mid June.
This is among the most important international classical music festivals, in which renowned artists from around the world perform at Leipzig’s authentic sites related to Johann Sebastian Bach. This is a unique experience filled with wandering musicians, city waits and torch-bearers as found in Bach’s day. Throughout the event there are concerts at the Bach Monument at the St Thomas´ Church, where you’ll also find grave, and be sure to visit the Bach-Museum to explore the an interactive and multimedia exhibition life and work of Thomas cantor and the entire Bach family.
The Wave Gotik Treffen Concert’s and Performances
Every spring, during Whitsun, 20,000 Goths from all over the world travel to Leipzig for the world’s largest gathering of the dark family. The Wave Gotik Treffen presents over a hundred concerts that feature everything from classical music to head banging, heavy metal bands. Throughout the event you’ll find a diverse mix of cultural programs to join that include readings, theatre, film, lectures and medieval markets.
The Water Festival
As the summer heats up, Leipzig’s citizens and travelers alike cool down at the Water Festival in Mid August. It will be a wet and wild summer filled with intense competitions and hilarious races on the waterways in homemade rafts, and sometimes, rubber ducks.
Plan Your Visit To Leipzig, Germany
Leipzig has many tales of peace to be told, festivals and cultural sites to experience and natural treasures to enjoy. To plan your trip to Leipzig visit Leipzig Tourismus und Marketing GmbH website.
Wild Wednesday Facts:
- In 1813, the decisive battle against Napoleon also took place in Leipzig.
- Did you know that the first daily newspaper in the world was published in Leipzig?
- As you travel through Leipzig, take a moment to imagine what the town was around 850 years ago when it was the intersection between the most important trade routes in the region.
- Whitsun, also known as Whitsunday, is the Christian feast held on the seventh Sunday after Easter, which commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles.
Will you visit Leipzig, Germany?
photos via Leipzig Travel