St.Thomas’ church or Thomaskirche in Leipzig took part in the festivities for the 1000 years of the city and offered a Marathon of Bach music in its interior.
2015 marks the thousandth anniversary of the city of Leipzig. This means that Leipzig was founded in 1015 A.D. In comparison to my hometown Athens, it is a very young city, but all the same has a rich history and thanks to its publishing houses, its University, its famous composers and other personalities like Leibniz for example, Leipzig occupies a central spot in Europe.
The streets of Leipzig look very black these days and it has nothing to do with the coal which used to dye the facades of the houses in the times of its socialist past.
Every Saturday afternoon, the inhabitants of Leipzig and the tourists who are interested in the music of Bach, can go to the Thomaskirche where the 18th century composer used to be a Cantor, and listen to the boys choir sing his music. Amidst Cantatas and Motette, there is a brief sermon delivered by a priest, a hymn sung by the congregation and a prayer. The whole lasts about an hour and to those who love classical music, even if they are not great believers, it is a godsend.
When you are a complete unknown in a city you don't know well, you tend to do things a tourist does. And sometimes you don't believe that you are doing these things.
I always had a snubbish attitude towards department stores, shopping malls etc. They weren't my cup of tea, to put it simply.
But here in Leipzig I am catching myself not only to look at the water fountain show at one big department store, but also to take pictures and videos of it, and to actually feel like an enthusiastic child when the central water column springs up to the ceiling.
This is not the first time that I am a complete unknown, living in a city abroad. This has happened to me once before but slowly I managed to create a network of friends and acquaintances. I am a rather social person. On the other hand, I am someone who likes to isolate herself in her little nook in order to read and write without being disturbed for hours or days on end. It is somehow strange and pleasant to go around a new city of which I still don’t know much and discover its hidden corners and the habits of the people. Leipzig is an attractive city.
When I left my country, Greece, to live in Germany, I was already quite old, so everything I brought with me from home, all my positive and negative characteristics, couldn’t really change. But I like to observe other people, even if I’m not going to learn anything from them.
So, I’ll attempt to list the things which impressed me in the behaviour and mentality of the inhabitants of the foreign country in which I found myself more or less by chance.
Despite its grandiose name and its size, the Augustusplatz in Leipzig is, in my humble opinion, somewhat of a shame for the city, as it reminds citizens and visitors alike of its infamous socialist past. There used to be here at this square, one of the most glorious old universities and a church which survived the war but were blown up by the regime that wanted to wipe out such great history and replace it by another architectural style. The opera and the Gewandhaus (the Concert Hall) as well as the Post office are also examples of the Stalinist architecture.
In the Leipzig Museum of Fine Arts there is currently an exhibition of Paul Klee's work. I had the chance to visit it and "discover" an artist of whom I had heard a lot. What I found impressive was Klee's imagination and productivity. As I'm not a great fan of geometrical or abstract subjects, I felt more attracted by his sketches of an Old man, an Actor and a Tightrope walker. Being born in a musical family, Klee loved Bach and Mozart.
Writing about Leipzig is very satisfactory, but I was home for ten days and home is Athens. Not exactly a very easy city to live in, but to quote Bill Bryson "somebody had to".