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Augustusplatz Area - Indian Chief Travel
GERMANY  |  Leipzig, Germany Travel Guide
Monday, June 17, 2024
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Augustusplatz Area

Augustusplatz Area

Augustusplatz is in the heart of the University of Leipzig, known as the Karl Marx University during the Communist period. On the south end, the Gewandhaus, Augustusplatz 8, opened in 1981 as the third building to house the famous Gewandhaus Orchestra, which has been in existence since 1743. Its Grand Hall has seating for 1,900. On the opposite end of the square is the controversial Opera House, Augustusplatz 12, which was built in a stark Communist style during the 1950s. It stages operas and ballets and can accommodate 1,426.

Behind the Gewandhaus is Leipzig’s most popular cultural center, the Moritzbastei, Universitätstraße 9. It is located in three stories of the former city fortifications that were dug out by students in the mid-1970s. It is used for theater performances, films, and concerts. Although the audience is mainly students, older visitors are more than welcome.

The Ägyptisches Museum (Egyptian), Schillerstraße 6, has a rich collection with around 8,000 pieces on display. The collection spans five millennia, from 4000 BC to the early Christian period. In addition to the usual statues and sarcophagi, the museum also has an impressive display of Nubian ceramics and smaller artworks. The pride of the collection is a cedar wood sarcophagus of Hedeb-bastet-iru with delicate relief carvings and still partly untranslated inscriptions.

The International Mendelssohn Stiftung (Foundation), Goldschidtstraße 12, is located in the house where Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy lived the last two years of his short life. It is the only house of his that has survived and is the only museum dedicated to this musician. In addition to his own compositions, his great contribution to music was his effort to reintroduce to a wider audience the music of Bach. The house is furnished in the Biedermeier style and left largely as it was when the composer lived there. Mendelssohn founded the first German conservatoire and concerts are still frequently held here.

Leipzig’s highest concentration of museums is in the Grassi Museum complex at Johannesplatz, www.grassimuseum.de. This complex was erected in the 1920s in the Expressionist style with hints of Art Deco. It was extensively damaged during WorldWar II and is currently under reconstruction. The three museums are due to reopen here in stages during 2005 and 2006. In the interim, parts of the collections of the museums are on display elsewhere in the city.

The Museum für Kunsthandwerk (Arts and Crafts), has a collection of mainly European arts and crafts dating from the beginnings to the present. A special focus is items collected during the 1920s and 1930s at the Leipzig fairs. German ceramics from the post-war period also are featured. Of special interest is the furniture and goldsmith work from the late Middle Ages onwards.

The Museum für Völkerkunde (Ethnography), with 220,000 items and around 100,000 photographs, is one of the oldest and largest collections of its kind in Europe. It displays the cultures and ways of life of people from all continents outside Europe. In the new museum, the display will allow a historical and cultural tour through the world.

The third museum offers pleasure for both eye and ear. The Musikinstrumentenmuseum (Musical Instruments), displays about a quarter of the 4,000 historic musical instruments belonging to the University of Leipzig. The collection is considered to be the second-most important in Europe, after Brussels, and spans five centuries. The collection ranges from small instruments such as mouth harmonicas to a self-playing zither and other mechanical instruments popular in the 19th century.

A few blocks from the Grassimuseum is the Schumann-Haus, Inselstraße 18. It was the residence of Robert and Clara Schumann during the first four years (1840-1844) of their marriage. It is one of the few remaining classical buildings in Leipzig. Most of the painted interior was found undamaged under layers of newer paint and wallpaper. The layout resembles that of the time when the Schuhmanns lived here. The permanent exhibition is on the life and work of the two musicians, with temporary exhibitions focusing on contemporaries that were guests in the house, such as Wagner, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Berlioz, and Hans Christian Andersen.

Last updated December 2, 2007
Posted in   Germany  |  Leipzig
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