Last night we went along to the Festival of Lights, to celebrate, along with many other Leipzigers, the amazing events in 1989 that led to the fall of communism across eastern Europe. Joining us via satellite link-up from Danzig were the Polish Baltic Philharmonic orchestra, who gave a concert which was screened onto the front of the Opera. The effect was quite impressive, as images from the concert hall were interspersed with historical photos from the period.
As with previous festivals, Leipzigers were invited to create an ‘89′ out of tea-lights, and short speeches were given by the Mayor of Leipzig, Burkhard Jung and Dr. Marek Prawda, the Polish Ambassador for Germany.
As Leipzig basks in the glow of a – so far – golden, sundrenched autumn we can only feel lucky. Lucky that so many people put their necks on the line 22 years ago so that we can enjoy the warmth of Leipzig today.
The 9 October is a celebration of the human spirit in Leipzig, a spirit that doesn’t just accept things the way they are but believes in a better, fairer world and takes action to achieve it. All of those who took to the streets in the autumn of ’89 in peaceful protest had incredible courage. They didn’t just wait and see, or resign themselves to an awful fate beyond their control. Rather, acting on the belief that they could effect change, each individual took matters into their own hands – with incredible results.
The festival’s celebrations this year focus on neighbouring Poland, in particular Danzig, and the political events leading to change that took place there.
The following events will take place on 9 October
Exhibition opening: 3 pm, Nikolaikirche courtyard
History from behind the Iron Curtain. Dictatorship and resistance in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Romania and the GDR 1945 – 1989.
Peace Prayer ‘Do not be afraid’: 5 – 6 pm, Nikolaikirche
Address on Democracy: 6.30 – 7.30 pm, Nikolaikirche. Delivered by Dr Marek Prawda, Polish Ambassador to Germany
Festival of Lights: 8 – 9.30 pm, Augustusplatz
8 pm: Salutations from Burkhard Jung, Mayor of Leipzig, and Dr Marek Prawda, Polish Ambassador. In parallel, the public will have the chance to create a glowing ‘89’ from candles
From 8.15 pm: images will be projected on to the facade of the Leipzig opera house.
There will be a video performance with historic and current images from Danzig and the live transmission of a concert being performed at the Polish Baltic Philharmonic in Danzig around 9.30 pm.
The LTM – the Leipzig Tourism and Marketing team – will be keeping the LZ blog up-to-date with stories from its Leipzig Express city magazine, with some of the key events going on around the city and also news from our sister citiesâ€¦one of which is Brno in the Czech Republic (a sister city since 1973).
Since 8 May, a new excursion boat has graced the waters of the Brno reservoir bearing the name of ‘Leipzig’ and ‘Lipsko’ along with the city crest on the bow and stern. Inside the boat posters and brochures advertise Leipzig as a great place to visit (of course ;-) ). The naming ceremony and inauguration trip were witnessed by 90 officials and guests from both Brno and Leipzig, and the Czech newspaper, Brnìnský DenÃk, also carried a four-page Leipzig special.
And, right here in Leipzig, the LTM would also like us to draw your attention to some amazing upcoming festivals this latter half of May. So no excuses for saying you have nothing to do!
16th to 22 May 2010
21st to 24 May 2010