I wanted to write a little bit about life in Leipzig, past and present, things that interest me. It’s not really in any particular sequence. I didn’t know much about Leipzig before I moved here, and perhaps you don’t either, so it might be a chance to learn some new things.

Last weekend we visited Runde Ecke, the memorial museum in the Stasi bunker, situated about 5 minutes walk from our apartment. It offers a fascinating insight into life in Leipzig during the rule of the GDR in East Germany. I’ve seen the comparable museum in Berlin but there was something incredibly poignant about seeing photos and letters that had been stolen from local citizens and photographs of people under surveillance without their knowledge. The exhibition ranges from the incredibly sad to the bizarre. The collection of scent samples (for detecting dissident elements from  within local citizens) is more than a little weird. (Even stranger, it looks like that method has been used more recently).

I often wonder about the impact of frequent surveillance and undercover spies upon one’s long term psyche, it would of course make it very difficult to trust people easily.

This is a great short video about life during the GDR in Berlin. The carrying round of a small shopping bags ‘just in case’ particularly stuck with me.

If you’re looking for some easy reads about the GDR, I recommend The Berlin Wall: A World Divided, 1961-1989 and of course, Anna Funder’s Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall.

One thing I really like about Leipzig is the variations in architecture. The buildings of the 1960’s really stick out!

This is one of the many icecream parlours, really popular with tourists

We’re lucky to be close to the bi weekly fresh market in the Market Square. Market stalls sell a wide array of fruits, vegetables, cheeses and flowers.

 

Where we live in Leipzig is very close to Höfe am Brühl, a large shopping mall called Blechbüchse by locals (Tin Can). It was built in the 1960’s as was East Germany’s most prominent place to shop during the GDR. The metal facade was part of the original facade.

In between the market and Höfe am Brühl is Currywurst, where we often stop for lunch. Sorry the pics aren’t great, it’s really dark inside!

Höfe am Brühl has a supermarket called Edeka. Its not the cheapest one in Leipzig or the biggest but it’s handy. It sometimes has some rather bizarre goods:

Frozen bretzel

Frozen kangaroo anyone? It also has the croissants in a can which amused me no end in Amsterdam.

I’ve had a few people ask me about the availability of vegan products in Leipzig. I’m going to be participating in Vegan MoFo this September so will be telling all.