A as in Augustusplatz

A as in Augustusplatz

The square, in the east of the city centre, started its history in 1785 within the city walls as the largest square in Leipzig. At the time it was called the Platz or dem Grimmaischen Tor. In 1839 the place was renamed as Augustusplatz, after Frederick Augustus, the first king of Saxony.

It changed its name many times in the following years – in 1928 it was renamed Karl-Marx-Platz by the social-democratic city government but the name was so unpopular that it was even ignored in newspaper articles and town plans. The name was changed back to Augustusplatz in 1933 by the Nazis and renamed Karl-Marx-Platz again in 1958. 1990 saw the last name change of the square, on the day of the German reunification, when the place got his current name back.

Augustusplatz mit Blick auf die Oper
Augustusplatz mit Blick auf das Gewandhaus und den Mendebrunnen davor

Today the place is dominated by the Opernhaus (opera house) on the northern edge and Neues Gewandhaus on the southern side, with the Mendebrunnen fountain in front of it. On the western side university buildings bound the place, including the City-Hochhaus Leipzig.

However, the place lost a lot of his historical appearance partly because of the destruction during World War II and partly due to the radical city-planning policy of the GDR. The Hauptpost is now closed, but soon to finish its reconstruction into high-end student apartments. The hotel Mercure was replaced by the Radisson SAS and the Augusteum and the University church have been rebuilt in a more modern style after having been destroyed using dynamite in 1968. During the Monday demonstrations in 1989 and 1990 the Augustusplatz played an important role.

square (skweəʳ) – der Platz
to rename (ˌri:ˈneɪm) – etw umbenennen, neu benennen
following (ˈfɒləʊɪŋ) – folgende(r,s)
unpopular (ʌnˈpɒpjələʳ) – unbeliebt
reunification (ri:ˌju:nɪfɪˌkeɪʃən) – die Wiederveinigung
current (ˈkʌrənt) – gegenwärtig, aktuell<
edge (eʤ) – der Rand
partly (ˈpɑ:tli) – teils, teilweise, zum Teil
policy (ˈpɒləsi) – das Programm, die Politik