Outside, the Renaissance building and its baroque tower dominate the Markt. But the biggest attraction – literally – in the 1557 Altes Rathaus [old town hall] is the 53-metre long Festsaal [Banqueting Hall]; €2 entry with the Leipzig Card. It's huge! Under a decorated beamed ceiling running its full length, three walls are lined with perhaps 40-50 portraits of Leipzig city magistrates, below full-size, full-length paintings of Saxon regents. The rows of pictures are punctuated by three large Baroque sandstone fireplaces, created by Friedrich Fuß around 1610.
Near the entrance is a 5m x 5m scale model of the city of Leipzig, dating from 1823, constructed over a period of seven years by Leipzig upholsterer and furniture maker Johann Christoph Merzdorf. In a side room off the other end of the hall I found the picture of Johann Sebastian Bach, painted in 1746 by Elias Gottlob Haussman, which is thought to be the only likeness of him painted in his lifetime. In the Festsaal itself the sun was creating patterns of shadow on the richly decorated window reveals, and I tried to make something of it in the camera.
I'd intended to just call in to the Festsaal for a few photos before moving on to the Schumann Museum in Inselstrasse, not far from my hotel, but I found the additional historical displays in the other rooms really interesting, despite the language barrier, and exceptionally well presented. So I stayed far longer than planned and knew I wouldn't make it to Robert Schumann sensibly before the 5:00pm closing time. I was the only visitor in the Festsaal, and the three or four museum girls were just chatting together when I went to get my lonely jacket from the big cloakroom area. A highlight of my visit was finding a Baroque door lock on the door of the Gents!