Built in the 16th century, the so called Königshaus (King’s house) is situated on the eastern side of the Market Square, in the immediate vicinity of the Old Town Hall in Leipzig. The symmetrical Baroque façade of the five-level building features wooden bay windows that span three floors. The ground floor is a shopping gallery with an entrance to the shopping arcade in the middle. In the 17th century, the building was residential and was rented by the Electors of Saxony for themselves and their retinue members.
It is uncertain whether Peter I stayed in this building when he passed through Leipzig with his Grand Embassy on May 30-31/ June 9-10, 1698. Johann Jacob Vogel, a chronicler of the 18th century, reports that in 1698, on their way from Holland to Russia, the Tsar stayed overnight in the “House of Welsch”, as the building was named after its owner professor Gottfried Welsch, the dean of the Medical Faculty and Rector of the Leipzig University. German historian Karl von Weber who studied archival documents argued that Peter I stayed in the Amelung house. Both may be right. The Tsar was accompanied by a large entourage, including three “Grand Ambassadors”; so it might well be that the Embassy occupied two buildings. However, the city legend links the memory of Peter I with the former “House of Welsch” — in any case, it is this building that has a corresponding memorial plaque.
In 1704, the building was acquired by merchant and factory owner Andreas Dietrich Apel who commissioned Leipzig-based architect Johann Gregor Fuchs to reconstruct it. The reconstruction of 1705–1707 gave the building its Baroque appearance. In the 18th century, the building housed residential units and offices. A significant part of the original layout was put out of existence when the building was rebuilt into a shopping arcade in 1931–1932.
In 1992-1993, the building was reconstructed to regain its Baroque appearance. Some interior design elements (the stucco moldings and a fireplace) on the second floor were also restored.
At the entrance to the arcade from the side of the Town Hall under the arch to the right, there is a memorial plaque reading, “APELS HAUS MARKT 17 / SOGENANNTES KÖNIGHAUS / ERSTER BEKANNTER UMBAU 1610. / AUS DIESER ZEIT DIE / STEINERNE WENDELTREPPE. ERNEUERT / 1706/07 IN BAROCKER FORM / NACH PLÄNEN VON GREGOR FUCHS / HIER WEILTEN: 1698 PETER I., / 1706 KARL XII. VON SCHWEDEN, / MERWACH AUGUST DER STARKE UND / FRIEDRICH II., 1813 NAPOLEON I” (Apel’s House, 17 Markt / The so called Königshaus / The first known reconstruction dates back to 1610. / The stone spiral staircase dates from the same time. Renovated / in 1706/07 in the Baroque style after the designs by Georg Fuchs. / Persons who stayed here include: Peter I in 1698, / Charles XII, King of Sweden in 1706, / Augustus the Strong and Frederick II on numerous occasions, / and Napoleon I in 1813).
Today, the Königshaus is an office building. It is protected by the government as one of the most significant buildings in Leipzig.