The 2009 Festival of Lights - the twentieth anniversary of the Peaceful Revolution
In 2009 more than 100,000 visitors participated in the Festival of Lights held on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the Peaceful Revolution in Leipzig. Local residents, many of them young people, were joined by visitors from other parts of Germany and other countries in a candlelit procession around the inner-city ring road.
Along the historic route of the demonstration architects, light planners, designers and artists from a number of European countries presented their individual interpretations of the events of the autumn of '89.
For many people the 2009 Festival of Lights brought back many memories, but in addition to this it represented a symbol for unity, freedom and the way in which barriers can be overcome. Many of those who attended had themselves participated in the demonstrations 20 years earlier, while the Festival of Lights enabled others to experience for themselves the force of the non-violent movement for freedom and democracy in the autumn of '89.
The route of the demonstration was illuminated
The location for the Festival of Lights was the route which the 1989 demonstrators took along the ring road. It began in St Nicholas's Church Yard and continued to Augustusplatz Square, Georgi Ring, the main railway station, Tröndlin Ring and Goerdeler Ring. For the occasion of the festival the main stations of the historic route of the demonstration, the so-called 'landmarks', were highlighted by light projections and artistic performances.
Numerous light art projects
The idea for the Festival of Lights was conceived and carried out by Leipzig's Tourism und Marketing Agency and local light artist Jürgen Meier. Numerous partners contributed their own individual projects around the inner-city ring road with the slogan “Civic commitment – 1989 and today”, all of them coming together to form an impressive single thematic art work of light.
In order to promote the idea of European solidarity and the international dimension of 9 October Leipzig’s twin cities were invited to participate with their own projects. Accordingly the city of Lyon contributed a work at the Reformed Evangelical church along the Tröndlin Ring, where the film footage of the 70,000 strong demonstration was shot on 9 October 1989 and later broadcast by western media.