1902 Encyclopedia > Leipsic (Leipzig)

Leipsic
(German name: Leipzig)




LEIPSIC (in German, Leipzig), the second town of the kingdom of Saxony in size, and the first in commercial importance, is situated in a large and fertile plain, in 51' 20' 6" N. lat. and 12° 23' 37" E. long., about 65 miles northwest of Dresden and 6 miles from the Prussian frontier. It stands just above the junction of three small rivers, the Pleisse, the Parthe, and the Elster, which flow in various branches through or round the town, and afterwards, under the name of Elster, discharge themselves into the Scale. Though of unimposing exterior, Leipsic is one of the most prosperous and enterprising of German towns. Besides being the most important commercial city in Germany next to Hamburg, it possesses the second largest German university, is the headquarters of the supreme courts of the empire, and forms one of the most prominent literary and musical centres in Europe. It consists of the old or inner city, surrounded by a wide and pleasant promenade laid out on the site of the old fortifications, and of the very much more extensive inner and outer suburbs. Beyond the last is a fringe of thriving suburban villages, such as lIeudnitz, Volkmarsdorf, Gohlis, Eutritzsch, Plagwitz, and Lindenau, which are gradually becoming absorbed by the growth of the town. On the north-west the town is bordered by the fine public park and woods of the Boson thal.

The old town, with its narrow streets and numerous houses of the 16th and 17th centuries, still preserves much of its quaint mediaeval aspect. The most interesting of its buildings are the Rathhaus, a Gothic edifice built by Hieronymus Lotter in 1556 (now doomed to demolition), and the Fiirstenhaus, with its curious projecting balconies. The Pleissenburg, or citadel, now used for barracks and public offices, also dates from the middle of the 16th century. Auerbach's Keller, a curious old wine-vault, is interesting for the use made of it by Goethe in his Faust; it contains a series of mural paintings of the 16th century, representing the legend on which the play is based. The business of Leipsic is chiefly concentrated in the inner city; but the headquarters of the book trade lie in the east suburb. The streets of the suburbs are mostly broad and well built. The most notable modern buildings are the new theatre, an imposing Renaissance structure designed by Langhans, and the museum, which stand facing each other at opposite ends of the spacious Augustus-Platz. Most of the west side of the same square LEIPSIC is occupied by the Augusteum, or main building of the university, which, however, also possesses several special institutes in another part of the town. The new district law courts are contained in a large and substantial though not specially imposing building, and the municipal hospital and the hospital of St John are also handsome edifices. The so-called Roman House, with loggie and frescos in the Italian style, is the only private dwelling demanding remark. The churches of Leipsic are comparatively uninteresting. The oldest, in its present form, is the Paulinerkirche or university church, built in 1229-40, and the largest is the Thomaskirche, dating from 1496. The university of Leipsic, founded in 1409 by a secession of two thousand German students from Prague, has long ranked among the most important in Germany. A few years ago it was also the most numerously attended, but it is now outstripped by Berlin, which has about four thousand students as compared with thirty five hundred at Leipsie (1882). The professors and "Privatdocenten," or lecturers, number about one hundred and seventy. The university library contains 350,000 volumes and 4000 manuscripts; it occupies the Paulinum, a characteristic specimen of old monastic architecture, dating in part front

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