Leipzig's most famous resident, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), was cantor here from 1723 until his death. He spent his most creative years as choirmaster at this church and is buried just in front of the altar. Both Mozart and Mendelssohn performed in the Thomaskirche as well, and Wagner was christened here in 1813. The church was built on the site of a 13th-century monastery and was heavily restored after World War II. Its high-pitched roof dates from 1496. When not touring, the city's Thomanerchor (St. Thomas Boy's Choir) presents concerts every Sunday morning and Friday evening.

Singing Through the Centuries: The St. Thomas Boys' Choir -- In recent times while the Vienna Boys' Choir enjoyed worldwide fame, Leipzig's Thomanerchor (St. Thomas Choir) languished in obscurity in the eastern zone. Now all that is changing. Any musical expert can tell you that the Leipzig choir has plenty of talent, and as it tours more widely in Europe, its fame will no doubt grow.

The choir has been here since the 13th century. The boys sang on every occasion in the Middle Ages -- city celebrations, the installation of bishops, and even executions. Today, the setting for this venerable musical force is Thomaskirche. Choirboys still follow an almost medieval regime within a distinctive subculture that's a world unto itself. Each newcomer is assigned a "mentor" from among the trusted older members of the choir, and all members are required to eat, sleep, study, and rehearse according to a semimonastic regimen. The most famous member was none other than Johann Sebastian Bach. He wrote his great cantatas for this choir and was cantor (choirmaster) for 27 years.