Leipzig in the 17th century
Leipzig is derived from the
Slavic word Lipsk, which means "settlement where the
linden trees (British English: lime trees; U.S. English: basswood trees) stand".
 An older spelling of the name in English is Leipsic. The
Latin name Lipsia was also used.
 The name is cognate with
Lipetsk (Липецк) in Russia and
In 1937 the
Nazi government officially renamed the city Reichsmessestadt Leipzig (Imperial Trade Fair City Leipzig).
Since 1989 Leipzig has been informally dubbed "Hero City" (Heldenstadt), in recognition of the role that the
Monday demonstrations there played in the fall of the East German regime – the formulation alludes to the honorary title awarded in the former Soviet Union to certain cities that played a key role in the victory of the Allies during the Second World War.
 The common usage of this nickname for Leipzig up until the present is reflected, for example, in the name of a popular blog for local arts and culture, Heldenstadt.de.
More recently, the city is sometimes nicknamed "Boomtown of eastern Germany", "Hypezig" or "The better Berlin" for being celebrated by the media as a hip urban centre for the vital lifestyle and creative scene with many
Leipzig was first documented in 1015 in the chronicles of Bishop
Thietmar of Merseburg as urbs Libzi (Chronikon VII, 25) and endowed with city and market privileges in 1165 by
Otto the Rich.
Leipzig Trade Fair, started in the
Middle Ages, became an event of international importance and is the oldest remaining trade fair in the world.
There are records of commercial fishing operations on the river Pleisse in Leipzig dating back to 1305, when the
Margrave Dietrich the Younger granted the fishing rights to the church and convent of St Thomas.
There were a number of
monasteries in and around the city, including a Franciscan monastery after which the Barfußgäßchen (Barefoot Alley) is named and a monastery of Irish monks (Jacobskirche, destroyed in 1544) near the present day Ranstädter Steinweg (the old
The foundation of the
University of Leipzig in 1409 initiated the city's development into a centre of German law and the publishing industry, and towards being the location of the
Reichsgericht (Imperial Court of Justice) and the
German National Library (founded in 1912).
Thirty Years' War, two battles took place in
Breitenfeld, about 8 kilometres (5.0 miles) outside Leipzig city walls. The
first Battle of Breitenfeld took place in 1631 and
the second in 1642. Both battles resulted in victories for the Swedish-led side.
On 24 December 1701, an oil-fueled street lighting system was introduced. The city employed light guards who had to follow a specific schedule to ensure the punctual lighting of the 700 lanterns.
The Leipzig region was the arena of the 1813
Battle of Leipzig between
Napoleonic France and an allied coalition of
Prussia, Russia, Austria and Sweden. It was the largest battle in Europe prior to the First World War and the coalition victory ended
Napoleon's presence in Germany and would ultimately lead to his first exile on
Elba. In 1913 the
Monument to the Battle of the Nations celebrating the centenary of this event was completed.
A terminus of the first German long distance
Dresden (the capital of Saxony) in 1839, Leipzig became a hub of
Central European railway traffic, with
Leipzig Hauptbahnhof the largest
terminal station by area in Europe. The railway station has two grand entrance halls, the eastern one for the
Royal Saxon State Railways and the western one for the
Prussian state railways.
Leipzig became a centre of the German and Saxon liberal movements. The first German
labor party, the
General German Workers' Association (Allgemeiner Deutscher Arbeiterverein, ADAV) was founded in Leipzig on 23 May 1863 by
Ferdinand Lassalle; about 600 workers from across Germany travelled to the foundation on the new railway line. Leipzig expanded rapidly to more than 700.000 inhabitants. Huge
Gründerzeit areas were built, which mostly survived both war and post-war demolition.
With the opening of a fifth production hall in 1907, the
Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei became the largest
cotton mill company on the continent, housing over 240,000 spindles. Daily production surpassed 5 million kilograms of yarn.
mayor from 1930 to 1937,
Carl Friedrich Goerdeler, was a noted opponent of the
Nazi regime in Germany. He resigned in 1937 when, in his absence, his Nazi deputy ordered the destruction of the city's statue of
Felix Mendelssohn. On
Kristallnacht in 1938, the 1855
Leipzig synagogue, one of the city's most architecturally significant buildings, was deliberately destroyed.
Leipzig after bombing in the Second World War
Several thousand forced labourers were stationed in Leipzig during Second World War.
The city was also heavily damaged by
Allied bombing during the Second World War. Unlike its neighbouring city of
Dresden, this was largely conventional bombing with high explosives rather than incendiaries. The resultant pattern of loss was a patchwork, rather than wholesale loss of its centre, but was nevertheless extensive.
The Allied ground advance into Germany reached Leipzig in late April 1945. The U.S.
2nd Infantry Division and U.S.
69th Infantry Division fought into the city on 18 April and completed its capture after fierce urban action, in which fighting was often house-to-house and block-to-block, on 19 April 1945.
 In April 1945 the Deputy Mayor of Leipzig, Ernest Lisso, his wife, daughter and a
Volkssturm Major Walter Dönicke committed suicide in Leipzig City Hall.
The United States turned the city over to the
Red Army as it pulled back from the
line of contact with Soviet forces in July 1945 to the predesignated occupation zone boundaries. Leipzig became one of the major cities of the
German Democratic Republic (
In the mid-20th century, the city's trade fair assumed renewed importance as a point of contact with the
Eastern Europe economic bloc, of which
East Germany was a member. At this time, trade fairs were held at a site in the south of the city, near the
Monument to the Battle of the Nations. In October 1989, after
prayers for peace at
St. Nicholas Church, established in 1983 as part of the peace movement, the
Monday demonstrations started as the most prominent mass protest against the East German government.
 Since the
reunification of Germany, Leipzig has undergone significant change with the restoration of some historical buildings, the demolition of others, and the development of a modern transport infrastructure.
Nowadays, Leipzig is an economic center in Germany. Since the 2010s, Leipzig is being celebrated by the media as a hip urban center with a very high quality of living.
 It is often called "The new Berlin".
 Leipzig is also Germany's fastest growing city.
 Leipzig was the German candidate for the
2012 Summer Olympics, but was unsuccessful. After ten years of construction, the
Leipzig City Tunnel opened on 14 December 2013.
 Leipzig forms the centerpiece of the
S-Bahn Mitteldeutschland public transit system, which operates in the four German states of