Leipzig, the largest city in the state of Saxony in Germany
, has around 500,000 inhabitants. The city has an esteemed history: it began life as a Slavic settlement called Lipsk and entered recorded history in AD 1015, before developing into a major European commercial and cultural centre.
Located on a plain traditionally intersected by numerous important European trade routes, Leipzig has always been of commercial importance. Its annual Easter and Michaelmas markets became imperial fairs in 1497 and by 1700 the city was Germany’s most important commercial centre. The annual Leipzig Fair - known as the ‘mother of all trade fairs’ – has been taking place for over 500 years; it opened its new exhibition centre in 1996 and is one of the most important forums for trade between eastern and western Europe.
The city also has an illustrious cultural history: in the 17th and 18th centuries it counted the philosopher and mathematician Leibnitz, the composer Johann Sebastian Bach and the writer Goethe among its residents, while in the 19th and early 20th centuries Felix Mendelssohn formed the Gewandhaus concerts and the famous Leipzig conservatory in the city and both Robert Schumann and Richard Wagner were residents.
The city remains a major European commercial centre, while its grand history lingers on in many of its main
attractions, such as the Leipzig Opera House, the Renaissance-era Town Hall, its many museums and its historic architecture. There are other, more contemporary attractions too, such as Leipzig Zoo and Belantis Amusement Park.