Leipzig Architectural Jewels, Leipzig

Leipzig Architectural Jewels (Self Guided), Leipzig

Anyone who wants to delve into Leipzig's interesting history should see its collection of the most beautiful Renaissance buildings in Germany. The city has many impressive historic monuments and contemporary constructions by world famous architects. Take this self-guided walking tour to discover Leipzig’s most amazing architecture.
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Leipzig Architectural Jewels Map

Guide Name: Leipzig Architectural Jewels
Guide Location: Germany » Leipzig (See other walking tours in Leipzig)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.9 Km or 0.6 Miles
Author: karenl
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Romanus House
  • Fregehaus (Free House)
  • Alte Waage (Old Scale House)
  • Market Square and Old Town Hall
  • Alte Handelsbörse (Old Stock Exchange)
  • Riquet House
  • Specks Hof (Speck's Yard)
  • Nikolaikirche (St. Nicholas Church)
  • Kroch-Hochhaus (Kroch High-Rise)
Romanus House

1) Romanus House

The Romanushaus is a historic building in downtown Leipzig on the corner of Brühl and Katharinenstrasse . The city palace built between 1701 and 1704 is one of the main works of Leipzig baroque architecture influenced by Dresden . Formerly used as a town house, it now serves as a commercial building.

The Romanushaus, which covers four plots of land, is designed as a baroque city palace with a base-like ground floor, three floors of different heights and a mansard roof . As a corner building, it has a north facade with 13 window axes facing Brühl and an east facade that is about half as wide with six window axes facing Katharinenstrasse. Both fronts are connected by a two-story bay window on the corner of the house, which is beveled at a 45-degree angle. The facades are structured vertically by risalits : on the north front, the three axes on the left and right edge and the three middle axes form a risalit, and on the east side the two middle window axes protrude from the line. The central avant-corps on the north side is closed by a richly decorated one-storyTail gable with an oval window, the risalit of the east facade is covered by a similar gable with two kidney-shaped windows. In the southwest, the building encloses a small rectangular courtyard.

The roof was originally a five-window-wide and two-window-deep, one-storey belvedere (roof pavilion) placed in the middle of the north facade, which was removed in 1874, but rebuilt in 1996-1998 in the course of repair and restoration work. All stucco ceilings and the two courtyard wings fell victim to a renovation between 1966 and 1969. However, the latter were also restored to their original form.

The decorative elements are typically baroque. The most distinctive are the garlands on most of the window sills , the entrances and the gables . More recently, a statue of Hermes , probably created by Balthasar Permoser , was placed in the niche under the corner bay window.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Fregehaus (Free House)

2) Fregehaus (Free House)

The Fregehaus is a baroque merchant's house in the center of Leipzig.

The merchant Gottfried Otto bought the property at today's Katharinenstraße 11 in 1705 and had the Renaissance house there (probably built in 1535) rebuilt in the Baroque style by the Leipzig council mason Johann Gregor Fuchs in the years 1706 to 1707.

The four-wing building is laid out around a rectangular courtyard. The symmetrical main façade is characterized by a bay window decorated with garlands of fruit. There are 16 dormer windows in four rows on the steep roof with a 62-degree incline. The preserved parts of the previous building include the cross vault of the courtyard entrance and portals on the ground floor.

The Fregehaus owes its current name to the banker Christian Gottlob Frege II (1747–1816), who acquired it in 1782. It remained the seat of the private bank until 1945 and a commercial enterprise (with state participation) of the Frege family until 1976. From 1978 the Fregehaus was the seat of the VEB Leipzig Monument Preservation, which renovated the house from 1980 to 1986.

Descendants of the family include Christian Gottlob Frege II's 2nd degree cousin 3× removed, the first President of the Federal Administrative Court Ludwig Frege and his grandson Andreas Frege, better known as Campino, singer and frontman of the German music group Die Toten Hosen .

From 1998 to March 2014, the non-profit association “Europahaus Leipzig e. V.” the building that now houses a hotel and a shop. The courtyard is freely accessible.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Alte Waage (Old Scale House)

3) Alte Waage (Old Scale House)

The Old Scale is a building, partially reconstructed based on historical models, on the north side of Leipzig 's market square.

The building was built in 1555 under the direction of the building and mayor Hieronymus Lotter (1497-1580) and the executive master builder Paul Speck († 1557) in the Renaissance style as a council scale. The so-called saffron scales used to stand in this place . Behind the four-tiered volute gable facing the market with a sundial in the upper part and a stair tower in front of it, the house had two upper and attic floors and two floors above the basement and ground floor.

The Rats Waage was the center of the Leipzig Fair , which was then operated as a goods fair with direct sales. All goods had to be weighed here, after which duty was collected, which the city shared with the sovereign . The necessary facilities and rooms were located on the ground floor. The basement housed the council bar and the first floor the men's drinking room. From 1558 to 1638, the escort who was responsible for the security of the route for an escort fee had his place here. From 1590 the building was also the seat of the Leipzig Council Post with the messenger room . From 1661 to 1712 the Electoral Saxon post office was herehoused in Leipzig, which was then moved to the Leipzig office building at Thomaskirchhof .

The scale square in 1846 in front of the Hallisches Tor with the customs office (left) and the new scale building (right)
In 1820 the weighing operation was relocated to the city centre. A new weighing building and a customs office had been erected in front of the Hallisches Tor in the north (both no longer preserved). That is why the building in the city center was given the name Alte Waage . It was now used as a commercial building. During the conversion of the gable end in 1861, the stair tower was removed.

On December 4, 1943, an air raid completely destroyed the building. After the rubble had been cleared, the property remained undeveloped for a few years. Temporary buildings for the trade fair office and later for a travel agency used the central building area. In the years 1963/1964 a new building was built according to a design by the Leipzig architect Wolfgang Müller (1932-1992). The entire structure, including the façade facing Katharinenstraße, is a modern new building. Only the south gable after the market was modeled on the historic Renaissance building, but like last time without a stair tower.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Market Square and Old Town Hall

4) Market Square and Old Town Hall (must see)

Marktplatz (1950 bis 1954 P) is one of the most beautiful places in the center of Leipzig. It is considered the center of the city.
In the east the market is lined with the arcades of the old town hall from the year 1556. It is the oldest preserved building on the square. The historical buildings on the north side have been rebuilt after the destruction of the war, including the Old Libra

One of Germany’s most important Renaissance town halls, Altes Rathaus, founded in 1557, is one of the city’s most beautiful attractions. Located on the main square, it houses a museum of Leipzig's history. It is worth seeing for its beautiful Renaissance interior and presentations of the city’s history and art.

***This is where the town pipers performed and where Bach signed an employment contract with the city. The famous original Bach Portrait by E. Haußmann can be found here. ***PH***
Alte Handelsbörse (Old Stock Exchange)

5) Alte Handelsbörse (Old Stock Exchange)

The Alte Handelsbörse or Alte Börse (Old exchange) in Leipzig, Saxony, Germany, is the city's oldest assembly building of merchants, and also the oldest Baroque building. Built as the Börse in 1678, it is now used as an event venue and is known in English as the Old Stock Exchange.[

Leipzig has always been an important trading centre, being at the intersection of two historical trade routes, and trade fairs have been held here for nearly a millennium. The initiative to build a Börse, as a neutral exchange place to conduct business and seal deals, came in 1667 from 30 major merchants after complaints by foreign merchants. The city council took the decisive decision to build the Börse on 6 May 1678. The building was probably designed by Johann Georg Starcke, a master builder at the court of John George II, Elector of Saxony, in Dresden. Construction began at the Naschmarkt adjacent to the Old Town Hall on 30 May 1678. The Börse was used already from 1679, but the artwork in the interior was completed only in 1687. The ground floor had rooms rented to merchants, the upper floor offered a hall, Börsensaal, for auctions, balls and other events.

During the Second World War, the Börse burnt down completely in 1943, resulting in the irretrievable loss of the valuable stucco ceiling and ceiling paintings. The building was secured with an emergency roof. Restoration of the exterior began in 1955, completed in 1962. Since then, the Alte Börse has been used for cultural events such as readings, concerts and exhibitions. Between 1992 and 1995, the facade and the interior were extensively renovated, with a focus on the original colouring of the facades and the window glazing in the style of the 17th century.

The design of the Börse shows parallels in many details to the Palais im Großen Garten [de] and the Lusthaus in the Italian Garden in Dresden. Builders involved included the Leipzig master mason Christian Richter, the stonemasons Andreas Junghans from Rochlitz, Hans Caspar Beck from Laucha and Melchior Bock from Zeitz as well as the master carpenter Christian Schmied. The last features to be completed were a stucco ceiling by Giovanni Simonetti and seven allegorical ceiling paintings by Johann Heinrich am Ende [de].

The Börse is a freestanding building with two floors and a flat roof, accessed by an open two-way staircase. It has a plaster facade, embellished all around with flat pilasters with Ionic capitals and festoons. A sandstone balustrade has round-arched portals. Above the staircase, two winged putti hold the Leipzig city coat of arms. The front features two statues, of Apollo and Mercury, the god of the merchants, while the back has Minerva and Venus. The facades of the building are evenly spaced on all sides with high rectangular windows and low transverse rectangular windows above. The Alte Handelsbörse thus combines elements of both Dutch and Italian Baroque.[
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Riquet House

6) Riquet House

Also known as the “House with the Elephants,” Riquet House’s architecture is a mix of Art Nouveau and oriental styles. Built at the turn of the 20th century, it housed an oriental trading company which imported goods from China and Japan. Now a restaurant, wine cellars and a cafe, it serves homemade goodies with an historical ambiance. The entrance attracts attention with its beautiful roof and two elephant heads.
Specks Hof (Speck's Yard)

7) Specks Hof (Speck's Yard)

Specks Hof is a commercial building with the oldest preserved shopping arcade in Leipzig . The complex near the Nikolaikirche is an example of Leipzig's trade fair and trading houses that were built at the beginning of the 20th century.

Speck's yard is six stories high. On the first three upper floors, the principle of the support and beam system can be clearly recognized by the emphasis on the continuous pilasters . The upper two floors are slightly set back behind a balustrade or a narrow strip of roof. In each of the three adjoining streets there is a basket arch-like passage entrance, each of which is emphasized by a rounded risalit just like the two corners of the building . On the one with trachyttuff and artificial stoneOn the clad front there is plenty of architectural decoration both in stone and on the base above the ground floor and above the third floor in copper. The figures are borrowed from the Greek world of gods and bear no relation to the purpose of the building.

The southern part of the front on Nikolaistrasse, which was built later, differs in design from the rest of the building. It is kept simpler and, instead of the two upper floors, has a three-story tower-like structure with a pyramid roof that extends beyond the ridge line of the outbuildings.

The ground floor of the building is traversed by barrel-vaulted passageways, some of which still have an embossed copper ceiling. A corridor runs from Reichsstraße to Nikolaistraße with a branch into Schuhmachergäßchen; a branch leads to the Hansahaus. The corridors are interrupted by three glass-covered atriums, which are labeled A, B and C starting in the west and have floor areas of between 40 and 50 m². Your walls are artistically designed.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Nikolaikirche (St. Nicholas Church)

8) Nikolaikirche (St. Nicholas Church) (must see)

The St. Nicholas Church (in German: Nikolaikirche) has long been one of the most famous in Leipzig, and rose to national fame in 1989 with the Monday Demonstrations when it became the centre of peaceful revolt against Communist rule. The church was built around 1165 when Leipzig, also known as St. Nicholas's City, was founded. It is named after St. Nicholas, the patron saint of merchants and wholesalers, and is situated in the very heart of the city on the intersection of two then important trade roads.

It is built partially in the Romanesque style but was extended and enlarged in the early 16th century with a more Gothic style. In 1794 the interior was remodeled in the neoclassical style. The Baroque main tower was added in 1730; the portal dates from 1759. The church has been a Protestant seat since 1539 after the Protestant Reformation, but the Catholic Church is allowed to use it too.

Notable philosopher and mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was baptized here as an infant on 3 July 1646.

The church saw four of the five performances (including the premiere) of the St John Passion by Johann Sebastian Bach on Good Friday in 1724, 1728, 1732, and 1749, as well as many of his cantatas and oratorios performed by the Thomanerchor.

The church organ was built by Friedrich Ladegast in 1862 with four manuals and 83 stops. Its renovated from mechanical (tracker) action to pneumatic action in the early 20th century by Wilhem Sauer. 2004 Eule Organbuilding (Bautzen) rebuilt the organ to mechanical key action, reconstructed losted stops and added a 5th manual. Now the organ has 103 stops, included the 83 Ladegast-stops. It is the largest organ in Saxony.

***The Old St. Nicholas School at the St. Nicholas Churchyard is one of Leipzig's first community schools and one of its most valuable cultural monuments. It was first opened to the public in 1512. Influential figures such as Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Johann Gottfried Seume and Richard Wagner went to school here.

Today you can visit the permanent exhibition "The Young Richard Wagner from 1813 to 1834" and immerse yourself in Leipzig's musical history.***PH***
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Kroch-Hochhaus (Kroch High-Rise)

9) Kroch-Hochhaus (Kroch High-Rise)

The Kroch high-rise in Leipzig was built in 1927/1928 for the private bank Kroch jr. KGaA and was the city's first skyscraper. The reinforced concrete building, designed as a clock tower and 43 m high, is located on the west side of Augustusplatz.

The Krochhaus, which opened on August 1, 1928, was built in place of the dilapidated front building of the Theaterpassage from 1872, which was owned by Leipzig University. In 1926, the architect German Bestelmeyer was able to take one of the two second places in the competition organized by Bankhaus Kroch together with the Leipzig City Council. Out of the 69 proposals received, it was not possible to agree on a first place, so that the decision was finally made to go for Bestelmeyer’s design “Orion”, a limestone-clad, twelve-storey office tower based on the clock tower (Torre dell’orologio) in Venice.

The height of the new "tower house", whose ridge height was based on the gable of the Pauline Church, was very controversial at the time. Therefore, only a provisional building permit was granted for 10 floors up to 35.50 m. However, since a height of 43 m was planned, which Bestelmeyer had reduced to 39.50 m as a compromise, the upper four floors were initially only allowed to be set up as dummies in order to be able to test the urban planning effect of the Kroch high-rise before the final completion. This building template not only strengthened Bestelmeyer in his view that 12 floors with 43.20 m was the ideal height, but also the Leipzig Council, so that the final approval was finally granted on December 16, 1927.

By 2009, a comprehensive renovation of the building was carried out for 4.9 million euros.

In September 2009, the Egyptological Institute, the Ancient Near Eastern Institute with a library and the Language Institute of the University of Leipzig moved in. Since June 2010 the building has also housed the Egyptian Museum of the University of Leipzig.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

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