Protein Journal #14 - The Travel Issue

Page 106

Guide: Believe the Hype Words by Nadja Sayej Photos by Patrick Desbrosses

Despite being one of the poorest cities in the country, Leipzig’s threatening to taking Berlin’s crown as Germany’s cultural capital

In recent years, Leipzig – or Little Paris as Goethe called it in Faust – has become known as the boom town of eastern Germany and the next Berlin – a title that has received a mixed response from the

P

city’s half a million residents. The world’s lifestyle media, always keen ast a concrete slab staircase, behind

to discover a new cultural hotspot, is largely

a door labelled with graffiti tags, an

responsible for such labels. In 2010, The New

underground art venue that exclusively

York Times named Leipzig as one of the top places

exhibits screen-based art comes alive with videos,

to visit and other media outlets have published

GIFs and static jpegs. Inside, electrical wires trickle

similar stories; a Tumblr – Hypezig – gathers

up to the ceiling of a room packed with guests, all

such articles. It’s no surprise then that the city

chatting and clinking beer bottles. It’s just a regular

has experienced a rise in tourists: according to

night at BSMNT, an art venue founded by local

the Leipzig tourism office, overnight stays have

artist Ronny Szillo. Based at Spinnerei, a former

increased by more than 35% in the past four years.

cotton mill which now houses studios, art galleries,

And it might seem like an overnight success,

a cinema, shops and a café, BSMNT is located at

but Leipzig’s rise has been years in the making. It

the centre of Leipzig’s cultural heart.

can be traced back to the fall of the Berlin Wall in

Just a two-hour drive from Berlin, wealth-wise, the former East German city is hardly comparable

1989, when unemployment was high and many left the city. But the situation soon led to new

to the likes of Munich or Hamburg – in fact it’s one of Germany’s poorest cities. However, as the birthplace of Wagner and where JS Bach lived, its legacy is undeniably rich in culture. Page 104

Protein Journal — Issue 14