Leipzig is the largest city in the federal state (Bundesland) of Saxony. The name is derived from the old-slavic Lipsk (settlement where the linden trees stand). It is situated at the confluence of the rivers Pleisse, White Elster, and Parthe. Leipzig's population, which peaked at 750.000 before the second world war, has diminished to just about 500.000 by 2002.
First documented in 1015, and endowed with city and market privileges in 1165, Leipzig has always been known as a place of commerce. The Leipzig Trade Fair became an event of international importance; especially as a point of contact to the east-european economic bloc (Comecon) of which East Germany (with Leipzig) was a member.
The foundation of the Universitšt Leipzig in 1409 initiated the city's development into a center of the publishing industry, and towards being a location of the German National Library (founded in 1912, http://www.ddb.de). Johann Sebastian Bach worked in Leipzig from 1723 to 1750, at the St. Thomas church. In 1813, the Leipzig region was the arena of the Battle of the Nations.
Having been a terminal of the first German long distance railroad (1838, to Dresden, the capital city of Saxony), Leipzig became a hub of certral-european railroad traffic, with a renowned station building, now the largest passenger train station in Europe. Nobel prize laureate Werner Heisenberg worked as a physics professor at Leipzig University from 1927 to 1942.
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