Thursday, May 2, 2013

Postcrossing card from Germany: Hotel Astoria, Leipzig Central Station

Click on above image for larger version with much better detail.

Sender: Sielke from Germany

Message: "Hello Chris. You're interested in history? So here you get a very old card from the time before our re-union. These old trams built in Czechoslovakia are now only in a museum. On the right you see our famous car called TRABANT (the one with the red roof). You almost ordered it when you got 18 yrs old to get it about 10 yrs later. Crazy?1 This was reality for us. Now it's easier to buy a new car. The station is more modern inside, too. They made lots of shops inside. Outside it's the same, but no flags today. Regards, Sielke."

The city pictured is Leipzig, Germany. (Sielke, according to Postcrossing, lives a bit west of Leipzig, near the town of Merseburg.)

The building on the left is the Hotel Astoria, which opened in 1915 and closed in 1997. It is now vacant, and its future is uncertain.

The huge building to the right of the Hotel Astoria — the "station" that Sielke refers to — is Leipzig Central Station, which is the world's largest railway station by floor area. Like the Hotel Astoria, it opened in 1915. It was damaged by Allied bombing during World War II and restored in the 1950s. Wikipedia has a nice gallery of past and present images of the station.

1. The Trabant was dubbed "the car that gave Communism a bad name" in an article by Time magazine on the 50 worst cars of all time. It is also cited as one of the failures of having a planned economy.


  1. Unfortunately this nice hotel in Leipzig has been closed for years. Many plans has been made out for re-opening, today the plan is to make it a convention center. Which does not contain any hotel rooms anymore. The new concept is to rent out the convention rooms and facilities to the hotels and businesses surrounding the old Astoria building. It's location in the heart of downtown Leipzig makes this formal hotel in Leipzig predestinated for the desired concept. Many people in Leipzig hope that this concept will be realized as quick as possible.

  2. I'm from west germany. Hope I remember it right. The thing was you order the car when your child was born. So the child have a car when he os she is old enough to drive one.