Leipzig is a city in the federal state of Saxony, Germany. It has a population of 543,629 inhabitants (1,001,220 residents in the Larger urban zone of Leipzig) and is the heart of the Central German Metropolitan Region. Leipzig is located about south of Berlin at the confluence of the White Elster, Pleisse, and Parthe rivers at the southerly end of the North German Plain.Leipzig has been a trade city since at least the time of the Holy Roman Empire. The city sits at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important Medieval trade routes. Leipzig was once one of the major European centers of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing. Leipzig became a major urban center within the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) after World War II, but its cultural and economic importance declined despite East Germany being the richest economy in the Soviet Bloc.Leipzig later played a significant role in instigating the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, through events which took place in and around St. Nicholas Church. Since the reunification of Germany, Leipzig has undergone significant change with the restoration of some historical buildings, the demolition of others, and the development of a modern transport infrastructure. Leipzig today is an economic center in Germany and has a prominent opera house and one of the most modern zoos in Europe. Leipzig is nicknamed as the "Boomtown of eastern Germany", "Hypezig" or "The new Berlin".