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Zentrum Jenas im Tal 2008-05-24.JPG
Jena skyline
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Location of Jena within Thuringia
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Coordinates: 50°55′38″N11°35′10″E / 50.92722°N 11.58611°E / 50.92722; 11.58611 Coordinates: 50°55′38″N11°35′10″E / 50.92722°N 11.58611°E / 50.92722; 11.58611
Country Germany
State Thuringia
District Urban district
   Lord Mayor Thomas Nitzsche (FDP)
  Total114.76 km2 (44.31 sq mi)
143 m (469 ft)
 (2017-12-31) [1]
  Density970/km2 (2,500/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes
Dialling codes 03641, 036425
Vehicle registration J

Jena ( /ˈjnə/ ; German pronunciation: [ˈjeːna] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen )) [2] is a German university city and the second largest city in Thuringia. Together with the nearby cities of Erfurt and Weimar, it forms the central metropolitan area of Thuringia with approximately 500,000 inhabitants, while the city itself has a population of about 110,000. Jena is a centre of education and research; the Friedrich Schiller University was founded in 1558 and had 18,000 students in 2017 [3] and the Ernst-Abbe-Fachhochschule Jena counts another 5,000 students. Furthermore, there are many institutes of the leading German research societies.

Thuringia State in Germany

Thuringia, officially the Free State of Thuringia, is a state of Germany.

Erfurt Place in Thuringia, Germany

Erfurt is the capital and largest city in the state of Thuringia, central Germany.

Weimar Place in Thuringia, Germany

Weimar is a city in the federal state of Thuringia, Germany. It is located in Central Germany between Erfurt in the west and Jena in the east, approximately 80 kilometres southwest of Leipzig, 170 kilometres north of Nuremberg and 170 kilometres west of Dresden. Together with the neighbour-cities Erfurt and Jena it forms the central metropolitan area of Thuringia with approximately 500,000 inhabitants, whereas the city itself counts a population of 65,000. Weimar is well known because of its large cultural heritage and its importance in German history.


Jena was first mentioned in 1182 and stayed a small town until the 19th century, when industry developed. For most of the 20th century, Jena was a world centre of the optical industry around companies like Carl Zeiss, Schott and Jenoptik (since 1990). As one of only a few medium-sized cities in Germany, it has some high-rise buildings in the city centre, like the Jen Tower. These also have their origin in the former Carl Zeiss factory. Between 1790 and 1850, Jena was a focal point of the German Vormärz as well as of the student liberal and unification movement and German Romanticism. Notable persons of this period in Jena were Friedrich Schiller, Alexander von Humboldt, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Novalis and August Wilhelm Schlegel.

Carl Zeiss AG German manufacturer of optical systems

Carl Zeiss , branded as ZEISS, is a German manufacturer of optical systems, and industrial measurement and medical devices, founded in Jena, Germany in 1846 by optician Carl Zeiss. Together with Ernst Abbe and Otto Schott they built a base for modern optics and manufacturing. There are currently two parts of the company, Carl Zeiss AG located in Oberkochen with important subsidiaries in Aalen, Göttingen and Munich, and Carl Zeiss GmbH located in Jena.

Schott AG company

Schott AG is an international manufacturing group of glass and glass-ceramics. The company is headquartered in Mainz, Germany and employs approximately 15,100 people worldwide. All shares of Schott AG are solely held by the Carl Zeiss Foundation. The company reported sales worth 2.05 billion Euros in its fiscal year 2016/2017.

Jenoptik company

Jenoptik is a German integrated photonics group that divides its activities into three photonics-based divisions Light & Optics, Light & Production and Light & Safety.

The city's economy is based on the high-technology industry and research. The optical and precision industry is the leading branch to date, while software engineering, other digital businesses and biotechnology are of growing importance. Furthermore, Jena is also a service hub for the surrounding regions.

Jena lies in a hilly landscape in the east of Thuringia, within the wide valley of the Saale river. Due to its rocky landscape, varied substrate and mixed forests, Jena is known in Germany for the wide variety of wild orchids which can be found within walking distance of the town. [4] Local nature reserves are maintained by volunteers and NABU.

Saale river in Germany

The Saale, also known as the Saxon Saale and Thuringian Saale, is a river in Germany and a left-bank tributary of the Elbe. It is not to be confused with the smaller Franconian Saale, a right-bank tributary of the Main, or the Saale in Lower Saxony, a tributary of the Leine.

Naturschutzbund Deutschland German nature conservation organization

The Naturschutzbund Deutschland e.V. or NABU is a German non-governmental organisation (NGO) dedicated to conservation at home and abroad, including the protection of rivers, forests and individual species of animals.


Middle Ages

Lobdeburg Castle above Lobeda district Lobdeburg near Jena by Night.jpg
Lobdeburg Castle above Lobeda district

Until the High Middle Ages, the Saale was the border between Germanic regions in the west and Slavic regions in the east. Owing to its function as a river crossing, Jena was conveniently located. Nevertheless, there were also some more important Saale crossings like the nearby cities of Naumburg to the north and Saalfeld to the south, so that the relevance of Jena was more local during the Middle Ages. The first unequivocal mention of Jena was in an 1182 document. The first local rulers of the region were the Lords of Lobdeburg with their eponymous castle near Lobeda, roughly 6 km (4 mi) south of the city centre on the eastern hillside of the Saale valley.

High Middle Ages Period in European history from 1000 to 1250 CE

The High Middle Ages, or High Medieval Period, was the period of European history that commenced around 1000 and lasted until around 1250. The High Middle Ages were preceded by the Early Middle Ages and were followed by the Late Middle Ages, which ended around 1500.

Germanic peoples A group of northern European tribes in Roman times

The Germanic peoples were an ethnolinguistic group of Northern European origin identified by Roman-era authors as distinct from neighbouring Celtic peoples, and identified in modern scholarship as speakers, at least for the most part, of early Germanic languages.

Slavs Indo-European ethno-linguistic group living in Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia

Slavs are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group who speak the various Slavic languages of the larger Balto-Slavic linguistic group. They are native to Eurasia, stretching from Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe all the way north and eastwards to Northeast Europe, Northern Asia (Siberia), and Central Asia, as well as historically in Western Europe and Western Asia. From the early 6th century they spread to inhabit the majority of Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. Today, there is a large Slavic diaspora throughout North America, particularly in the United States and Canada as a result of immigration.

In the 13th century, the Lords of Lobdeburg founded two towns in the valley: Jena on the west bank and Lobeda – which is one of Jena's constituent communities today 4 km (2 mi) to the south on the east bank. Around 1230, Jena received town rights and a regular city grid was established between today's Fürstengraben, Löbdergraben, Teichgraben and Leutragraben. The city got a marketplace, main church, town hall, council and city walls during the late 13th and early 14th centuries making it into a fully fledged town. In this time, the city's economy was based mainly on wine production on the warm and sunny hillsides of the Saale valley. The two monasteries of the Dominicans (1286) and the Cistercians (1301) rounded out Jena's medieval appearance.

Dominican Order Roman Catholic religious order

The Order of Preachers, also known as the Dominican Order, is a mendicant Catholic religious order founded by the Spanish priest Dominic of Caleruega in France, approved by Pope Honorius III via the Papal bull Religiosam vitam on 22 December 1216. Members of the order, who are referred to as Dominicans, generally carry the letters OP after their names, standing for Ordinis Praedicatorum, meaning of the Order of Preachers. Membership in the order includes friars, nuns, active sisters, and affiliated lay or secular Dominicans.

As the political circumstances in Thuringia changed in the middle of the 14th century, the weakened Lords of Lobdeburg sold Jena to the aspiring Wettins in 1331. Jena obtained the Gotha municipal law and the citizens strengthened their rights and wealth during the 14th and 15th centuries. Moreover, the Wettins were more interested in their residence in the nearby city of Weimar, and so Jena could develop itself relatively autonomously.

House of Wettin noble family

The House of Wettin is a dynasty of German counts, dukes, prince-electors and kings that once ruled territories in the present-day German states of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. The dynasty is one of the oldest in Europe, and its origins can be traced back to the town of Wettin, Saxony-Anhalt. The Wettins gradually rose to power within the Holy Roman Empire. Members of the family became the rulers of several medieval states, starting with the Saxon Eastern March in 1030. Other states they gained were Meissen in 1089, Thuringia in 1263, and Saxony in 1423. These areas cover large parts of Central Germany as a cultural area of Germany.

Gotha Place in Thuringia, Germany

Gotha is the fifth-largest city in Thuringia, Germany, located 20 kilometres west of Erfurt and 25 km east of Eisenach with a population of 44,000. The city is the capital of the district of Gotha and was also a residence of the Ernestine Wettins from 1640 until the end of monarchy in Germany in 1918. The House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha originating here spawned many European rulers, including the royal houses of the United Kingdom, Belgium, Portugal and Bulgaria.

Early modern period

Jena in 1650 Jena (Merian).jpg
Jena in 1650

The Protestant Reformation was brought to the city in 1523. Martin Luther visited the town to reorganize the clerical relations and Jena became an early centre of his doctrine. In the following years, the Dominican and the Carmelite convents were attacked by the townsmen and abolished in 1525 (Carmelite) and 1548 (Dominican).

An important step in Jena's history was the foundation of the university in 1558. Ernestine Elector John Frederick the Magnanimous founded it, because he had lost his old university in Wittenberg to the Albertines after the Schmalkaldic War. During the Little Ice Age, wine-growing declined in the 17th century, so that the new university became one of the most important sources of income for the city. The same century brought a boom in printing business caused by the rising importance of books (and the population's ability to read) in the Lutheran doctrine, and Jena was the second-largest printing location in Germany after Leipzig.

The list of the so-called "Seven Wonders of Jena" was composed by students of the university at this time, supposedly as a test of local knowledge in order to confirm that a person who claimed to have studied in Jena was actually familiar with the city.

Beginning in the 16th century, the Ernestine dynasty saw many territorial partitions. Initially, Jena remained a part of Saxe-Weimar, but in 1672 it became the capital of its own small duchy (Saxe-Jena). In 1692, after two dukes (Bernhard II and Johann Wilhelm), the dukes of Saxe-Jena died out and the duchy became part of Saxe-Eisenach and, in 1741, of the Duchy of Saxe-Weimar, to which it belonged until 1809. From 1809 to 1918, Jena was part of the Duchy (from 1815 Grand Duchy) of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach.

19th century

The battle of Jena in 1806 Napoleon.Jena.jpg
The battle of Jena in 1806
The city centre before its destruction during World War II Jena Innenstadt 1920.jpeg
The city centre before its destruction during World War II

Around 1790, the university became the largest and most famous one among the German states and made Jena the centre of idealist philosophy (with professors like Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Schiller and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling) and of the early Romanticism (with poets like Novalis, the brothers August and Friedrich Schlegel, and Ludwig Tieck). In 1794, the poets Goethe and Schiller met at the university and established a long lasting friendship. Consequently, the reputation of the University and the Duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach as particularly liberal and open-minded was enhanced.

On 14 October 1806, Napoleon fought and defeated the Prussian army here in the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt, near the district of Vierzehnheiligen. Resistance against the French occupation was strong, especially among the students. Many of the students fought in the Lützow Free Corps in 1813. Two years later, the Urburschenschaft fraternity was founded in the city.

During the later 19th century, the famous biologist Ernst Haeckel was professor at the university. The expansion of science and medicine faculties was closely linked to the industrial boom that Jena saw after 1871. The initial spark of industrialization in Jena was the (relatively late) connection to the railway. The Saal Railway (Saalbahn, opened in 1874) was the connection from Halle and Leipzig along the Saale valley to Nuremberg and the Weimar–Gera railway (opened 1876) connected Jena with Frankfurt and Erfurt in the west as well as Dresden and Gera in the east. Famous pioneers of industry were Carl Zeiss and Ernst Abbe (with their Carl Zeiss AG) as well as Otto Schott (Schott AG). Since that time, production of optical items, precision machinery and laboratory glassware have been the main branches of Jena's economy. Zeiss, Abbe and Schott worked also as social reformers who wanted to improve the living conditions of their workers and the local wealth in general. When Zeiss died in 1889, his company passed to the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung, which uses great amounts of the company's profits for social benefits like research projects at universities etc. This model became an example for other German companies (e.g. the Robert Bosch Stiftung).

20th century

Bau 15 of the Carl Zeiss factory, Germany's first high-rise building, established in 1915 Jena Zeiss Bau 15.jpg
Bau 15 of the Carl Zeiss factory, Germany's first high-rise building, established in 1915
The Eichplatz in the city centre Am Eichplatz. Auf dem Bild sieht man die "Neue Mitte", dahinter ebenfalls ein Wolkenkratzer, das "b59"..jpg
The Eichplatz in the city centre
Typical street scenery in Jena: The "Holzmarkt" in the city-centre Der Holzmarkt in der Jenaer Innenstadt.jpg
Typical street scenery in Jena: The "Holzmarkt" in the city-centre

Industrialization fundamentally changed the social structure of Jena. The former academic town became a working-class city; the population rose from 8,000 around 1870 up to 71,000 at the beginning of World War II. The city expanded along the Saale valley to the north and the south and its side valleys to the east and the west. In 1901, the tram system started its operation and the university got a new main building (established between 1906 and 1908 on the former castle's site). After the foundation of Thuringia in 1920, Jena was one of the three biggest cities (together with Weimar and Gera, while Erfurt remained part of Prussia) and became an independent city in 1922. The modern optical and glass industry kept booming and the city grew further during Weimar times.

During the Nazi period, conflicts deepened in Jena between the influential left-wing milieus (communists and social democrats) and the right-wing Nazi milieus. On the one hand, the university suffered from new restrictions against its independence, but on the other hand, it consolidated the Nazi ideology, for example with a professorship of social anthropology (which sought to scientifically legitimize the Racial policy of Nazi Germany). Kristallnacht in 1938 led to more discrimination against Jews in Jena, many of whom either emigrated or were arrested and murdered by the German government. This weakened the academic milieu, because many academics were Jews (especially in medicine). In 1945, towards the end of World War II, Jena was heavily bombed by the American and British Allies. 709 people were killed, 2,000 injured and most of the medieval town centre was destroyed, but in parts restored after the end of the war. Nevertheless, Jena was the Thuringian city whose level of destruction was exceeded only by Nordhausen, whose destruction was utter. It was occupied by American troops on 13 April 1945 and was left to the Red Army on 1 July 1945.

In 1945, Jena fell within the Soviet zone of occupation in post-World War II Germany. In 1949, it became part of the new German Democratic Republic (GDR). The Soviets dismantled great parts of the Zeiss and Schott factories and took them to the Soviet Union. On the other hand, the GDR government founded a new pharmaceutical factory in 1950, Jenapharm, which is part of Bayer today. In 1953, Jena was a centre of the East German Uprising against GDR policy. The protests with 30,000 participants drew fire from Soviet tanks.

The following decades brought some radical shifts in city planning. During the 1960s, another part of the historic city centre was demolished to build the Jen Tower. The Eichplatz in front of the tower is still unbuilt and its future is still the subject of ongoing heated discussion. Big Plattenbau settlements were developed in the 1970s and 1980s, because the population was still rising and the housing shortage remained a perpetual problem. New districts established in the north (near Rautal) and in the south (around Winzerla and Lobeda). The opposition against the GDR government was reinforced during the late 1980s in Jena, fed by academic and clerical circles. In autumn 1989, the city saw the largest protests in its history before the GDR government was dissolved.

After 1990, Jena became part of the refounded state of Thuringia. Industry came into a heavy crisis during the 1990s, but finally it managed the transition to the market economy and today, it is one of the leading economic centres of eastern Germany. Furthermore, the university was enlarged and many new research institutes were founded.

Geography and demographics


The medieval bridge across the Saale in Burgau district Burgauer Brucke.jpg
The medieval bridge across the Saale in Burgau district

Jena is situated in a hilly landscape in eastern Thuringia at the Saale river, between the Harz mountains 85 km (53 mi) in the north, the Thuringian Forest/Thuringian Highland 50 km (31 mi) in the southwest and the Ore Mountains, 75 km (47 mi) in the southeast. The municipal terrain is hilly with rugged slopes at the valley's edges. The city centre is situated at 160 m of elevation, whereas the mountains on both sides of Saale valley rise up to 400 m. On the eastern side those are (from north to south): the Gleisberg near Kunitz, the Jenzig near Wogau, the Hausberg near Wenigenjena, the Kernberge near Wöllnitz, the Johannisberg near Lobeda and the Einsiedlerberg near Drackendorf. On the western side, there are the Jägersberg near Zwätzen, the Windknollen north of the city centre, the Tatzend west of the city centre, the Lichtenhainer Höhe near Lichtenhain, the Holzberg near Winzerla, the Jagdberg near Göschwitz and the Spitzenberg near Maua. The mountains belong to the geological formation of Ilm Saale Plate (Muschelkalk) and are relatively flat on their peaks but steep to the valleys in between. Due to its jagged surface, the municipal territory isn't very suitable for agriculture all the more since the most flat areas along the valley were built on during the 20th century. At the mountains is some forest of different leaf trees and pines.


32 species of native orchids can be found in the Jena area. [5] One of the best places to see them is Leutratal, to the south of the town. Ophrys apifera even grows at a few locations within the town. Firefly can be seen in the meadows in Paradiespark as well as a variety of native wildflowers. Wildlife on the surrounding mountains includes raven, sand lizard and wood ants. Heron, beaver and muskrat have been seen on the Saale, within the town. Pine martens sometimes come into the town at night, from the mountains, to raid bins.


Jena has a humid continental climate (Dfb) or an oceanic climate (Cfb) according to the Köppen climate classification system. [6] [7] Summers are warm and sometimes humid; winters are relatively cold. The city's topography creates a microclimate caused through the basin position with sometimes inversion in winter (quite cold nights under −20 °C (−4 °F)) and heat and inadequate air circulation in summer. Annual precipitation is 585 millimeters (23.0 in) with moderate rainfall throughout the year. Light snowfall mainly occurs from December through February, but snow cover does not usually remain for long. During the Middle Ages, Jena was famous for growing wine on its slopes. Nowadays, the next commercial wine-growing areas are situated 20 km (12 mi) down Saale river. Due to its distance to coastal areas and position in the Saale valley, wind speeds tend to be very low; predominant direction is SW.

Administrative division

Jena abuts the district of Saale-Holzland with the municipalities of Lehesten, Neuengönna and Golmsdorf in the north, Jenalöbnitz, Großlöbichau and Schlöben in the east and Laasdorf, Zöllnitz, Sulza, Rothenstein, Milda and Bucha in the south and the district of Weimarer Land with the municipalities of Döbritschen, Großschwabhausen and Saaleplatte in the west.

The city itself is divided in 30 districts. The inner-city districts are Zentrum, Nord, West, Süd, Wenigenjena (east of Saale, incorporated in 1909) and Kernberge, other big districts are Lobeda (incorporated in 1946) and Winzerla (incorporated in 1922) in the south with large housing complexes.

The residual districts are from a more rural constitution:

  • Ammerbach (incorporated 1922)
  • Burgau (1922)
  • Closewitz (1994)
  • Cospeda (1994)
  • Drackendorf (1994)
  • Göschwitz (1969)
  • Ilmnitz (1994)
  • Isserstedt (1994)
  • Jenaprießnitz/Wogau (1994)
  • Krippendorf (1994)
  • Kunitz/Laasan (1994)
  • Leutra (1994)
  • Lichtenhain (1913)
  • Löbstedt (1922)
  • Lützeroda (1994)
  • Maua (1994)
  • Münchenroda/Remderoda (1994)
  • Vierzehnheiligen (1994)
  • Wöllnitz (1946)
  • Ziegenhain (1913)
  • Zwätzen (1922)


Evolution of population until 2003 Population Statistics Jena.png
Evolution of population until 2003
Ten largest groups of foreign residents [8]
NationalityPopulation (31.12.2017)
Flag of Syria.svg  Syria 1,660
Flag of Poland.svg  Poland 800
Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 585
Flag of India.svg  India 540
Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine 500

During the centuries, Jena had been a town of 4,000 to 5,000 inhabitants. The population growth began in the 19th century with an amount of 6,000 in 1840 and of 8,000 in 1870. Then, a demographic boom occurred with a population of 20,000 in 1900, 50,000 in 1920, 73,000 in 1940, 81,000 in 1960 and 104,000 in 1980. The peak was reached in 1988 with a population of 108,000. The bad economic situation in eastern Germany after the reunification resulted in a decline in population, which fell to 99,000 in 1998 before rising again to 107,000 in 2012.

The average growth of population between 2009 and 2012 was approximately 0.47% p. a, whereas the population in bordering rural regions is shrinking with accelerating tendency. Suburbanization played only a small role in Jena. It occurred after the reunification for a short time in the 1990s, but most of the suburban areas were situated within the administrative city borders.

The birth surplus was 62 in 2012, this is +0.6 per 1,000 inhabitants (Thuringian average: -4.5; national average: -2.4). The net migration rate was +4.0 per 1,000 inhabitants in 2012 (Thuringian average: -0.8; national average: +4.6). [9] The most important regions of origin of Jena migrants are rural areas of Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony as well as foreign countries like Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria.

Like other eastern German cities, Jena has only a small amount of foreign population: circa 4.0% are non-Germans by citizenship and overall 6.2% are migrants (according to 2011 EU census). Differing from the national average, the biggest groups of migrants in Jena are Russians, Chinese and Ukrainians. During recent years, the economic situation of the city improved: the unemployment rate declined from 14% in 2005 to 7% in 2013. Due to the official policy of atheism in the former GDR, most of the population is non-religious. 15.9% are members of the Evangelical Church in Central Germany and 6.6% are Catholics (according to 2011 EU census).

Culture, sights and cityscape


Jena has a great variety of museums:


The historic city centre is located inside the former wall (which is the area between Fürstengraben in the north, Löbdergraben in the east, Teichgraben in the south and Leutragraben in the west). There are only few historic building structures in this area (e.g. at Oberlauengasse), caused by large losses during World War II and the projects of the following decades. The Eichplatz, a big sub-used square covering a large amount of the centre, is not built on since the 1960s and the discussion about its future is still in process. The wall's defortification took place relatively early – in 18th century – and the first suburbs developed in front of the former city gates. In this areas, some historic building structures from 18th and early 19th century remained like in westward Bachstraße and Wagnergasse, in northward Zwätzengasse and in southward Neugasse.

The later 19th and early 20th century brought a construction boom to Jena and the city enlarged to the north and south along Saale valley, to the west along Mühltal and on the Saale's east side in former Wenigenjena. Compared with the city centre, later substantial losses were much slighter in this areas. During the interwar period, the construction of flats stayed on a high level but suitable ground got less, so that new housing complexes were set up relatively far away from the centre – a problem, that remained until today with long journeys and high rents as consequences. Today's Jena is not that compact as other cities in the region and urban planning is still a challenge.

A peculiarity of Jena is the presence of a second old town centre with market square, town hall, castle etc. in the former town of Lobeda, which is a district since 1946, located approximately 4 km (2 mi) to the south of Jena's centre.

Sights and architectural heritage


  • The main church, St. Michael's, is one of the biggest Gothic monuments in Thuringia and was built between 1422 and 1557. It has a bronze slab of Martin Luther's tomb.
  • The St. John's Church was the church of the extinct village Leutra west of Jena and later used as the city's cemetery chapel. Since 1811, the Gothic building is the catholic church of Jena.
  • The Peace Church was built between 1686 and 1693 as new cemetery chapel and is a Baroque evangelical church today.
  • The Schiller Church east of Saale river is the evangelical parish church of the former village and today's quarter Wenigenjena. Friedrich Schiller married here in 1790.
  • The St. Peter's Church is the former city church of Jena's southern district Lobeda. The Gothic church was built around 1480.
  • The parish church of Vierzehnheiligen (dedicated to the Fourteen Holy Helpers) is a Gothic-style former pilgrimage church established during the 1460s.
  • The St. Mary's Church in Ziegenhain is a former pilgrimage church in Gothic style, built in the 15th century.

Other sights

  • The medieval city wall is preserved in parts (Anatomieturm and Roter Turm), the largest one is the complex around Johannistor and Pulverturm near Johannisplatz.
  • The town hall at Markt square was built around 1412 and is one of only few Gothic town halls in Germany. It has an astronomical clock featuring the "Snatching Hans" ("Schnapphans").
  • The planetarium opened in 1926 and was the first large planetarium in the world, with technology developed by Carl Zeiss.
  • The University Main Building stands at the former castle's place and was established in 1908 in early-modern style (Theodor Fischer/Bruno Taut).
  • The Abbeanum is a university building by Ernst Neufert in Bauhaus style, built in 1930.
  • The Jen Tower is the city's highest skyscraper, built between 1969 and 1972, with a viewing platform and a sky restaurant.
  • The Haus Auerbach is the former house of physicist Felix Auerbach, built by Walter Gropius and Adolf Meyer in Bauhaus style in 1924. Near is the Haus Zuckerkandl, another mansion built by Gropius in 1929.
  • The former Carl Zeiss Factory in the city centre hosts interesting technical architecture from the period between 1880 and 1965, including Germany's first high-rise building, the Bau 15 from 1915.
  • The monument to John Frederick the Magnanimous (built in 1858) at the Markt square is a landmark of Jena called "Hanfried".
  • The monument to Ernst Abbe is a building of early-modern architecture by Henry van de Velde (1910).
  • The Lobdeburg is a castle ruin above Lobeda district and the former seat of the lords of Lobdeburg, founders of Jena.
  • Naturschutzgebiet Leutratal und Cospoth is an important nature reserve to the southwest.

Theatre and music

Jena has its own theatre and orchestra, the Jenaer Philharmonie.


Jena hosts a traditional football club, the FC Carl Zeiss Jena. At its best during the 1970s and 1980s, the club won the national GDR championship and played in UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final of 1981, but lost against FC Dinamo Tbilisi. Compared to then, the results of FC Carl Zeiss are poor today, playing only in 3rd league (3. Liga). In women's football, the FF USV Jena is member of the German first division. Both clubs' stadium is the Ernst-Abbe-Sportfeld. Also, the city's basketball team, Science City Jena played in Basketball Bundesliga in 2007-2008 season and returned to top level in 2015-16 season. In addition, since 2000, the university of Jena has a rugby team. Since 2012, the USV Rugby Jena [10] team has been playing in the 2. Rugby-Bundesliga.

Current men's javelin throw world record (98.48) by Jan Železný was achieved in Jena.

Economy and infrastructure

Agriculture, industry and services

The Jen Tower is a symbol of East Germany's economy Das hochste Burogebaude Ostdeutschlands - der fast 160m hohe Jentower.jpg
The Jen Tower is a symbol of East Germany's economy

Agriculture plays a small role in Jena, only 40% of the municipal territory are in use for farming (compared to over 60% in Erfurt and nearly 50% in Weimar). Furthermore, the Muschelkalk soil is not very fertile and is often used as pasture for cattle. The only large agricultural area is situated around Isserstedt, Cospeda and Vierzehnheiligen district in the northwest. Wine-growing was discontinued during the Little Ice Age around 1800, but is now possible again due to global warming. Nevertheless, the commercial production of wine hasn't yet resumed.

Industry is a great tradition in Jena, reaching back to the mid-19th century. In 2012, there were 80 companies in industrial production with more than 20 workers employing 8,300 persons and generating a turnover of more than 1,5 billion Euro. [11] The most important branches are precision machinery, pharmaceuticals, optics, biotechnology and software engineering. Notable companies in Jena are the traditional Carl Zeiss AG, Schott AG, Jenoptik and Jenapharm as well as new companies like Intershop Communications, Analytik Jena and Carl Zeiss Meditec. Jena has the most market-listed companies and is one of the most important economic centres of east Germany.

With companies such as Intershop Communications, (after the acquisition of Demandware) and ePages as well as several web agencies, Jena is a hub for E-commerce in Germany. Other IT players with regional offices include Accenture or ESET. Jena-Optronik, a subsidiary of the Airbus Group, develops components for spaceflight or satellites in Jena.

The city is among Germany's 50 fastest growing regions, with many internationally renowned research institutes and companies, a comparatively low unemployment and a young population structure. Jena was awarded the title "Stadt der Wissenschaft" (city of science) by the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, a German science association, in 2008.

Jena is also a hub of public and private services, specially in education, research and business services. Other important institutions are the High Court of Thuringia and Thuringia's solely university hospital. Furthermore, Jena is a regional centre in infrastructure and retail with many shopping centres.

Together with the photonics lab Lichtwerkstatt and the Krautspace there are makerspaces and hackerspaces enabling start-ups to create their product ideas and realizing their first prototype and business models as well as networking.


By rail

Paradies station 13-05-03-jena-by-RalfR-93.jpg
Paradies station

Jena has no central railway station with connection to all the lines at one point. What is relatively common in many countries is quite unusual for a German city and caused on the one hand by the city's difficult topography and on the other hand by the history, because the two main lines were built by two different private companies. The connection in north–south direction is the Saal Railway with ICE trains running from Berlin in the north to Munich in the south once a day stopping at Paradies station and local trains to Naumburg and Saalfeld stopping at Zwätzen, Saalbahnhof, Paradies and Göschwitz. The connection in west–east direction is the Weimar–Gera railway with regional express trains to Göttingen (via Erfurt and Weimar) and Zwickau, Glauchau, Altenburg or Greiz (via Gera) and local trains between Weimar, Jena and Gera. The express trains stop at West station near the city centre and Göschwitz, the local trains furthermore at Neue Schenke. The junction between both lines is the Göschwitz station, approx. 5 km (3 mi) south of the city centre.

With the new Nuremberg–Erfurt high-speed railway opening in 2017, the city lost its connection to the long-distance train network. As compensation, there are new regional express train services to Halle and Leipzig in the north, and to Nuremberg in the south.

By road

The two Autobahnen crossing each other nearby at Hermsdorf junction are the Bundesautobahn 4 (Frankfurt–Dresden) and the Bundesautobahn 9 (Berlin–Munich), which were both built during the 1930s. The A 4 runs quite next to the Lobeda housing complexes and the Leutra district. Therefore, it was rebuilt in the 2000s and got two tunnels to protect the residents and the environment against noise and air pollution. Furthermore, there are two Bundesstraßen crossing in Jena: the Bundesstraße 7 is a connection to Weimar in the west and Gera in the east and the Bundesstraße 88 is a connection along Saale valley to Naumburg in the north and Rudolstadt in the south. Furthermore, there are some roads to Apolda via Isserstedt, Blankenhain via Ammerbach and Stadtroda via Lobeda. Most parts of city centre inside the former walls are pedestrian areas.

By aviation

The next local airports to Jena are the Erfurt–Weimar Airport, approx. 50 km (31 mi) to the west and the Leipzig/Halle Airport, approx. 80 km (50 mi) to the northeast, which both serve mostly for holiday flights to the Mediterranean and other touristic regions. The next major airports are Frankfurt Airport, the upcoming Berlin Brandenburg Airport and Munich Airport.

By bike

Despite the hilly terrain in some parts, Jena is a cycling city, due to the many students. Cycling has become more popular in Jena since the 1990s when good quality bike paths began to be built. There are bike lanes along some main streets, though, in comparison to other cities in Germany, there are deficits.

For bicycle touring there is the "Saale track" (German : Saale-Radweg) and the "Thuringian city string track" (German : Radweg Thüringer Städtekette). Both of these connect points of tourist interest: the former along the Saale valley from Fichtel Mountains in Bavaria to the Elbe river near Magdeburg, while the latter follows the medieval Via Regia closely and runs from Eisenach via Erfurt, Weimar and Jena to Altenburg via Gera.

Trams and buses

A tram in the city centre JenaStraB.jpg
A tram in the city centre

The Jena tramway network was established in 1901 and enlarged after the German reunification. It connects the major districts with the city centre; there are 5 ordinary lines served in different intervals between 7,5 and 20 minutes. Nevertheless, there are some old single-track segments interfering the services. Furthermore, there is an extensive network of buses, run (like the trams) by the "Jenah" organization (a pun on Jena and Nahverkehr, German for public transport). Buses of the JES Verkehrsgesellschaft connect Jena with cities and villages in the region.

Education and research

University Library Jena ThULB 2.jpg
University Library

After reunification, the educational system was realigned. The University of Jena, established in 1558, was largely extended. Today there are approximately 21,000 students at this university. Another college is the Ernst-Abbe-Hochschule Jena, a University of Applied Sciences founded in 1991 which offers a combination of scientific training and its practical applications. There are also nearly 5,000 students.

Further there are six Gymnasiums, five state-owned and one Christian (ecumenical). One of the state-owned is a Sportgymnasium, an elite boarding school for young talents in athletics or football. Another state-owned Gymnasium (the Carl-Zeiss-Gymnasium Jena) offers a focus in sciences also as an elite boarding school additionally to the common curriculum.

The various research institutes based in Jena include:


Mayor and city council

The current mayor Thomas Nitzsche, FDP has been in office since 2018. The first freely elected mayor after reunification was Peter Röhlinger, FDP (in office between 1990 and 2006). He was succeeded by Albrecht Schröter, SPD, from 2006 to 2018.

The last municipal election was held in 2014 with the result:

PartyPercentageSeats in council
The Left (socialist)24.011
CDU (conservative)22.210
SPD (social democratic)20.810
Greens (green)11.35
Bürger für Jena (citizen-oriented/populist)10.45
FDP (libertarian)4.82
Pirates (libertarian)4.62

Twin towns

Jena is twinned with: [12]

Famous citizens and alumni of the university

Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld in 1942. Prince Bernhard 1942cr.jpg
Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld in 1942.

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