For centuries, Leipzig has been benefiting from its privileged location within the trans-European traffic network. Located in the state of Saxonia in East Germany, the city's location at the crossing of two continental trade routes catalysed the rise of the Leipzig Fair more than 800 years ago. Leipzig has developed at the crossroads of important trade routes as a centre of trade, culture, and sciences, and to this day, the city continues to function as a bridge between East and West. Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, roads, railroads, and air traffic routes are being developed with the future in mind. The considerable strategic potential that Leipzig and its region have is considered to be one of the few positive transformation regions within East Germany. The citizens of Leipzig have always welcomed and cared for international connections and exchange and the city's atmosphere, its quality of living, culture, and its hospitality are vivid proof of the European and international focus of its citizens and institutions.
What is nowadays called a growing Media-City, has its roots in the 17th century. It was in 1650 when the world's first daily newspaper is published in Leipzig. 1825 The ''German Booksellers and Publishers Association of Leipzig'' is founded. In 1826 the publishing company Brockhaus began industrial scale book production. Only two years later in 1828 Anton Philipp Reclam founded a lending library and later a publishing house, coining Leipzig as a centre for publishers and book production.
Besides the publication sector, Leipzig became extraordinary famous of its musicians, composer, and scientists. Between 1765 and 1768, Johann Wolfgang Goethe studied at the University of Leipzig.
On the field of music, Johann Sebastian Bach was its most famous choirmaster between 1723 and 1750. In his roles as musical director of church, town council, and university he was effectively the musical director of the city as a whole. Leipzig's international reputation as a city of music is closely associated with the “Gewandhaus” Orchestra. Its history began with the "Grosse Concert" ("Great Concert") of 1743.
Every year, the orchestra performs in many locations in Germany and abroad. When in Leipzig, the orchestra often accompanies the St Thomas' Boys Choir in St Thomas' Church and performs in productions of the Leipzig Opera House. But Leipzig's musical life is also closely connected with other great composers including Richard Wagner, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, and Robert Schumann under whose influence the city's musical and opera tradition flourished. Between 1835 and 1847, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy worked in Leipzig as the conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra.
Stimulated by these innovative milieus, the cultural success of these creative branches stimulated further economic as well as urban developments. In 1858 the Museum of Fine Arts was opened, in 1868 the New Theatre, between 1891 and 1897, the reconstruction of the university building took place. Culture and trade, especially when, after 1894, the Leipzig Fair has been turned from a product fair into a samples fair. Supported by the upgrading of the transportation facilities, the city became a leading centre in Germany.
Weakened through the loss of leading economic and cultural Jewish milieus as well as through the demolition of severe air raids, Leipzig came under Soviet government. The newly installed GDR republic came under pressure, when in 1953 strikes and demonstrations against the communist East German government take place on 17th June. Nevertheless the city has been transformed according socialist planning and urban standards.
It was in 1989 when prayers for peace were held at St Nicolas Church, opposing the political, economic, and suppressive situation of the regime. The “Monday Demonstrations” which started out along Leipzig's inner Ring Road after the prayers brought about the peaceful reunification of Germany.
After unification, the city became know as the “Boomtown East”, although most of its industrial production basis has been closed, leading to more than 20 % unemployment, brain drain, and fragmentation of the urban fabric due to large amounts of empty flats and houses.
With enormous subsidies, the city reorganized and repositioned itself anew. In 1993, the celebrations for the 300th anniversary of the Leipzig Opera House, the 250th anniversary of the Gewandhaus Orchestra, and 150th anniversary of the Music Conservatory took place, in 1996, the opening of the Leipzig New Fair exhibition centre combined new fair models with the old tradition of Leipzig as a site for international fairs.
Renewed Central Station, as well as the airport Leipzig/Halle Airport as well as new distribution centres, production plants such as Porsche in 2002, and in 2005, when a new BMW plant has been constructed at the fringe of Leipzig, have led to a multi-functional economic as well as international renowned standard.
The opening of the media city Leipzig address the cultural as well as media based potential and transfers the traditional media production sectors to the digital media and communication age of the 21st century. Within 15 years a fully re-established scientific knowledge landscape with various university and extra-university facilities in humanities, science and technology research have led to a vivid knowledge city. Leipzig is the east Europe city where substantial structural transformations can be closely observed. The city and its people have grasped this challenge and transformed the city in a lively, open-minded internationally oriented urban place in Europe.