Town of light

Making a lasting impression

Jena is in an idyllic setting on the banks of the river Saale, surrounded by hills of an unusual fossil-flecked limestone where many orchid species thrive. Jena University was founded in 1558 but its heyday was after 1785, as a result of Goethe's patronage. One of the university's most illustrious professors was Friedrich Schiller. Today Jena is a much sought-after place to study in Germany. Ernst Abbe and Carl Zeiss, mould-breakers in the field of optics, both worked in Jena. Napoleon's famous battle against Prussia took place at Jena and Auerstedt in 1806. Population: 100,000

Highlights/Places of interest

Zeiss Planetarium Jena

The oldest working planetarium in the world offers fantastic education and entertainment programmes for all the family. With the latest in full-dome laser projection, it produces amazingly realistic simulations of the night sky.

Botanical Garden

Jena’s botanical gardens were founded back in 1586 as a small medicinal herb garden, making them the second oldest of their kind in Germany. A very large, ancient ginkgo tree serves as a reminder of times Goethe.

Schiller’s Summer

As well as the house where Schiller lived, visitors can also see the garden house and the kitchen house. The garden still has the old, oval stone table where Schiller and Goethe often sat and exchanged thoughts.

Market Place Ensemble

Behind the new glass exterior is one of Jena’s oldest buildings. Built in 1384, it is now the home of Jena tourist information, among others. In the centre of the market square is “Hanfried”, a statue of Johann Friedrich I, the founder of Jena University. Also on the market square ist the Historical Town hall with a 500-year-old astronomical clock featuring “Schnapphans” or “snatching Hans”. This clock is one of the “seven wonders” of Jena, five of which can still be admired today. Their stories are told at the Municipal Museum.

Panoramic viewing platform at the JenTower

The Jentower is 159 metres tall and has a mirror facade, is Jena’s most distinctive landmark. From 128 metres up you get phenomenal views of the town, the Triassic limestone cliffs and the Thuringian landscape in the distance.

Optical Museum

Visitors to the Optical Museum can discover how optical instruments, such as spectacles, telescopes, microscopes and cameras, have developed over five centuries. In the historical Zeiss workshop of 1866 you can see how Carl Zeiss made microscopes in the mid-19th century.

Schott Glass Museum & Schott Villa

Otto Schott was one of the most influential chemists, engineers and entrepreneurs of his day. The Glass Technology Laboratory – which he founded in 1884 – is now the Schott Glass Museum, whose multimedia exhibition recounts the fascinating history of products and technology under the “Jena glass” name.

Municipal Church of St. Michael

The late-Gothic hall church with its striking facade and west tower impressed even Martin Luther, who preached from the Gothic stone pulpit on several occasions. A memorial plate originally intended for Luther's grave can be seen inside the church.

Town wall fortifications with St. John's Gate and Powder Tower

St. John's Gate and the Powder Tower are the last remnants of the medieval town wall from the late 13th and early 14th centuries that still remain largely intact.

Universitätshauptgebäude und Kollegienhof

From 1905-1908, the main university building designed by Munich architect Theodor Fischer was constructed where the old Jena Town Palace used to stand. It is the home of a wealth of art, including works by Ludwig von Hofmann, Ferdinand Hodler and Auguste Rodin.

Romanticist House

The exhibition at the former home of philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte illustrates the theme of early Romanticism in Jena and explores the cultural and intellectual influences on this young generation of poets, literary critics and philosophers.

Ernst Abbe monument

Built between 1909 and 1911, this large memorial pavilion was designed by Henry van de Velde in honour of the physicist, industrialist and social reformer Ernst Abbe. It contains bronze reliefs by Constantin Meunier and a marble herm by Max Klinger featuring a bust of the founder of the Zeiss company.

Goethe Memorial

A small memorial in the former superintendent’s house in the botanical gardens recalls Goethe’s work as a natural scientist and minister of state.

Phyletical Museum

The museum founded by Ernst Haeckel looks at evolution from a range of fascinating angles.

Collegium Jenense

The buildings, annexes and facilities surroundingthe courtyarddocument the fascinating development of Jena University since the first lecture was given in 1548.

Schillers Gartenhaus Jena
Schillers Gartenhaus Jena


Jena Tourist-Information

Markt 16
07743 Jena


Tel. +49 (0) 36 41 / 49 80 50
Fax +49 (0) 36 41 / 49 80 55