Jena is the second largest city in Thuringia, Germany, located 70 kilometres (43 miles) SW of Leipzig, 170 km (106 miles) N of Nuremberg and 150 km (93 miles) W of Dresden. Together with the neighbour-cities Erfurt and Weimar it forms the central metropolitan area of Thuringia with approximately 500,000 inhabitants, while the city itself has a population of nearly 110,000. Jena is a centre of education and research; the Friedrich Schiller University was founded in 1558 and has today 21,000 students and the Ernst-Abbe-Fachhochschule Jena counts another 5,000 students.

As one of only few medium cities in Germany, it has some high-rise buildings in the city centre, like the JenTower. They also include Bau 15 of the Carl Zeiss factory, Germany's first high-rise building, established in 1915.

From left to the right: (1) University Campus, Jenoptik Building and Shopping Mall Goethegalerie seen from the JenTower (2) JenTower, University Campus, Jenoptik Building, Hotel Esplanade and Goethegalerie Shopping Mall (3) Marketplace with the town hall Ratszeise and the monument of the founder of the university Kurfürst Johann Friedrich (4) Carl Zeiss Jena (5) Abbe Centre on the Beutenberg Campus
Photos: FSU Fotozentrum

Jena has a magnificent history - whichever century you consider, there are great personages who have left their mark, such as Luther, Fichte, Hegel, Schelling, the Schlegel brothers, Novalis, Goethe and Schiller, Frege, Fröbel and Ernst Haeckel, Carl Zeiss, Ernst Abbe and Otto Schott, artists of the Classic Modern movement and the Bauhaus, to name but a few. They have all made a decisive contribution to the city's inimitable trademarks - its cosmopolitan character, international mindset and the creative thinking out of the box so typical of the city's residents.

A well-known personage of Jena is Ernst Haeckel. He studied three years in Jena and then became professor at the University of Jena. He was a biologist, naturalist, philosopher, physician, and artist who discovered, described and named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many terms in biology, including anthropogeny, ecology, phylum, phylogeny, stem cell, and the kingdom Protista. Haeckel promoted and popularized Charles Darwin's work in Germany. He also founded the Phyletisches Museum, which is dedicated to illustrate the development of life. Its main areas of focus are phylogeny and the theory of evolution.

Carl Zeiss, Otto Schott and Ernst Abbe laid the foundations of modern optics in Jena and the city is still a centre of optics and optoelectronics. This is not only evidenced by research institutes and the famous big companies Schott Jena, Carl Zeiss Jena and Jenoptik but also by a whole number of smaller companies. You can learn more on this part of Jena's history in the Optisches Museum and the Zeiss-Planetarium the oldest continuously operating planetarium in the world.

From left to the right: (1) Schiller's Wallenstein drama trilogy was written in Jena between 1796 and 1799
(2) Phyletisches Museum (3) SCHOTT building (4) In the Optisches Museum (5) Zeiss-Planetarium
Photos: FSU Fotozentrum

Jena is the home of a number of non-university research institutes. They are mostly located on the Beutenberg Campus (seen in the foreground of the panorama view shown above) and include the Max Planck Institutes for Biogeochemistry and Chemical Ecology, the Leibniz Institutes of Age Resarch (Fritz Lipman Institute) and of Natural Product Research and Infection Biology (Hans-Knöll-Institute), the Institute of Photonic Technology (IPHT) and, finally, the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering. In addition, the campus hosts two startup centres, Wacker Biotech GmbH and also the two university centres for Innovation Competence Septomics and for Molecular Biomedicine and the Institutes for Applied Optics and for Virology and Antiviral Therapy. The Beutenberg Campus motto is 'Life Science meets Physics'.

For further information about Jena see

(text taken in part from Wikipedia and the Jena tourism website)