Leipzig is the capital of the German federal state of Saxony. Leipzig, one of Germany’s top ten cities by population, is located about 160 kilometers (99 miles) southwest of Berlin at the confluence of the White Elster, Pleisse, and Parthe rivers at the southern end of the North German Plain. It has a population of 570,087 people (1,001,220 in the larger urban zone).
Leipzig has been a trading center since the period of the Holy Roman Empire. The city is located at the crossroads of two key Medieval trade routes, the Via Regia and the Via Imperii. Leipzig was formerly one of Europe’s great centers of scholarship and culture, particularly in the disciplines of music and publishing. After World War II, Leipzig became a significant metropolitan center inside the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), but its cultural and economic significance diminished despite East Germany being the largest economy in the Soviet Bloc.
Through events in and around St. Nicholas Church, Leipzig later played a crucial role in triggering the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. Leipzig has witnessed tremendous change since Germany’s reunification, with the restoration of certain old structures, the destruction of others, and the creation of a new transportation system. According to the GfK marketing research institute, Leipzig is now an economic powerhouse and the most livable city in Germany. According to Anthony Sheridan, Oper Leipzig is one of Germany’s most important opera theaters, and Leipzig Zoological Garden is one of Europe’s most advanced zoos, ranking first in Germany and second in Europe. Leipzig is now designated as a Gamma World City as well as Germany’s “Boomtown.” Outside of Leipzig, the Neuseenland region has a vast lake area of around 116 square miles (300 square kilometres).