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Leipzig Hauptbahnhof And Its Looong History

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The Leipzig Hauptbahnhof (main station) is the central railway knot of South-East Germany (former Central Germany) and, in my opinion, the most beautiful station I've ever seen (and I've seen a lot!).

The Leipzig Hauptbahnhof was built from 1909 to 1915 on the area of four older stations, after a draft of the architects William Lossow (1852-1914) and Max Hans Kühne (1874-1942). Before its erection, the Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof (built in 1888) was the largest in Europe. But after its erection, the Leipzig Hauptbahnhof was with 26 tracks and 5 outer platforms Europeans largest head station (head station = no drive through!).

You find the station on the north side of Willy-Brandt-Platz.

Leipzig Hauptbahnhof (Main Station) in 1935
Hauptbahnhof, 1935

The historical first German cross-country railway travel began on April 7th, 1839, from Leipzig to Dresden. Go to the corner of Richard-Wagner-Straße and Goethestraße. There you are going to find a obelisk of the building of the first German long distance railway line.

The converted area amounts to 1.560.000 m³ on 83.640 m² surface area. The building is 298 m long. In the entrance halls lead ten meters broad outside staircases to the 3,84 m more highly lying transverse platform, which is 270 m long, 33 m broad and 27 m high. The entire crosshall was being over-bended by a flat ton of glass. Also the restaurants and waiting-rooms were through-flooded by the shining-through light.

Leipzig Hauptbahnhof (Main Station) Today [Photo: Webster]
Hauptbahnhof Today

For the visible part of the receipt building sandstone was used. 12 survive-large plastic stand for the designers and/or typical occupations of Leipzig: at the westhall are worker, engineer, stone-cutter, Carpenter, iron worker, and excavator. To the easthall were to see professor, musician, student, buyer, printers and batter.

Until 1934 there was therefore everything doubly: The tracks 1-13 belonged to the Prussian, the tracks 14-26 of the Saxonian course. Therefore existed also two reception halls, two staircases and double waiting-rooms. It was not allowed to bring in Prussian train into the Saxonian part of the station, as any Saxonian into the Prussian part. Funny, isn't it?

Scenic Leipzig Hauptbahnhof Passages [Photo: Florian Schuetz]
Scenic Hauptbahnhof

In World War 2, the station had been strongly destroyed. It was rebuilt from 1954 to 1962 with a cost of 40 Million German Mark.

When German Rail stated the fact that the transportation of human beings rapidly decreased after reunification, they introduced plans for a change of Leipzig Hauptbahnhof. Many citizens of Leipzig ran storm against it, because for them, the change meant violating a landmark of Leipzig.

However, the protests died down since the completion of the reconstruction in 1997. Since then, only 24 tracks exist, so the Leipzig Hauptbahnhof is now together with Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof the largest head station of Europe.

Today, the Leipzig main station is also a shopping center. It accommodates approx. 220 shops on three levels with approx. 30.000 m².

In other words, you go off the train (tracks are on upper floor) and are totally impressed by the glitter world! Unforgettable.

Even though it is a very old building it looks quite new at the same time, doesn't it? Stadium is next on our list...


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