Architecture & History
The Architecture of the KONGRESSHALLE am Zoo Leipzig
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The History of the KONGRESSHALLE am Zoo Leipzig
1900–1945: Emergence, Heyday and War Years
After Leipzig Zoo's prestigious civic centre was opened in September 1900, it soon became a significant venue for civic festivities and clubs: by 1914, more than 100 different events had already taken place. The first trade fair event at the present KONGRESSHALLE dates back to 1919. In the twenties and thirties after the First World War, business recovered and continued until April 1945 despite rigid intervention by the Nazi regime.
1946–1949: Reconstruction and Use as a Cultural Centre
Unlike the majority of Leipzig's other cultural venues, the civic centre at Leipzig Zoo had survived the Second World War relatively unscathed, which is why it was quickly repaired and converted into the "Kongreßhalle Leipzig". As early as 1946, a spring trade fair and various plays and concerts were held here. In 1948, the "Kongreßhalle Leipzig" was equipped with its own organ, transforming the house into a place of first-class concert culture offering excellent shows, music, theatre and dance events every evening.
1950–1989: Cultural Centre in the Heart of Leipzig
In the second half of the 20th century, the "Kongreßhalle Leipzig" also became an important venue for political congresses such as the 1st German Cultural Congress, along with sporting and cultural events of all kinds. Stars such as Udo Jürgens, Roy Black and Gilbert Bécaud performed here and the Leipziger Jazztage (jazz festival) have also been held here since 1978. The many dance events also became legendary, as the Great Hall was home to one of the largest sprung dance floors in Europe. A large number of smaller events including Christmas parties, school concerts, end-of-term dance balls and youth consecrations also made the "Kongreßhalle Leipzig" the number one cultural venue until it had to be closed in 1988 due to dilapidation.
From 1992: Long Road to Regeneration
Thanks to initial repairs, the building could be used sporadically again from 1992, but apart from an interim use by the Krystallpalast Varieté between 2008 and 2010, it mostly remained empty. The "Bürgerinitiative Kongreßhalle" (Congress Hall Citizens' Initiative) had been campaigning for the preservation of the building since 2001, but it was not until 2009 that the City of Leipzig passed a resolution for its comprehensive renovation, which laid the foundations for the new KONGRESSHALLE am Zoo. It is operated by the Congress Center Leipzig as an expert player in the congress business and today enriches the conference industry by offering an attractive meeting location in a city centre setting.