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Jena is a German university city and an independent city in Thuringia in the metropolitan region of Central Germany. It is located on the Saale between the limestone slopes of the Ilm-Saale-Platte and is the second largest city in Thuringia after the state capital Erfurt and one of the three regional centers of the Free State. Jena is also the 74th largest city in Germany.

Jena is home to the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, which was founded in 1558 and with 16,260 students is the largest university in Thuringia. Jena began to develop into an industrial city with the construction of the Saalbahn in 1874. It is a center of the German optics and precision engineering industry around the Carl Zeiss company. The Carl Zeiss combine with around 60,000 employees was also the largest combine in the GDR at the time. After German reunification in 1990, Jena changed from an industrial center to an education and science center. Numerous research laboratories and institutes are based in Jena.

Two of the earliest German high-rise buildings were erected in the city, the Zeiss Building 15 and Building 36. The 144.5 m (with antenna 159.60 m) high office building Jentower was the tallest high-rise in Germany when it was completed in 1972.

In 2008, the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft awarded Jena the title City of Science. The city of Jena also advertises itself with the name “Jena. City of Light. ”In 2016, Jena was awarded the honorary title of“ Reformation City of Europe ”by the Community of Evangelical Churches in Europe.


Geographical location
Jena is located in the middle Saale valley between limestone and red sandstone slopes that are partly covered by mixed forests (geological phenomena include the devil's holes and the student slide). On them, e.g. B. in the Leutra Valley, there are numerous, sometimes rare orchid species.

The largest extension is 14.7 kilometers from north to south and 12.2 kilometers from east to west.

Cities in the area
The following larger cities are in the vicinity of Jena: Weimar (approx. 19 km west), Apolda (approx. 12 km north), Rudolstadt (approx. 30 km south), Naumburg (Saale) (approx. 29 km north-east), Gera (approx. 35 km east), Erfurt (approx. 40 km west), Halle (Saale) (approx. 67 km northeast), Leipzig (approx. 72 km northeast), Chemnitz (approx. 96 km east) and Dresden (approx . 152 km east).

Neighboring communities
The following communities border the city of Jena. They are listed clockwise starting from the north:
in the Saale-Holzland district:
Administrative community Dornburg-Camburg with Lehesten (with Altengönna), Neuengönna (with Porstendorf), Golmsdorf (with Beutnitz), Jenalöbnitz and Großlöbichau
Administrative community Südliches Saaletal with Rabis, Fraitsch, Gröben (belong to Schlöben, the fulfilling municipality is Bad Klosterlausnitz), Laasdorf, Zöllnitz, Rutha, Rothenstein, Milda (with Dürrengleina and Zimmritz) and Bucha (with Pösen, Oßmaritz, Nennsdorf and Coppanz)

in the Weimarer Land district:
Administrative community Mellingen with Döbritschen and Großschwabhausen
City and rural community Bad Sulza (with Großromstedt, Kleinromstedt and Hermstedt)

City structure
The administration of the city of Jena is divided into 30 districts according to § 45 of the Thuringian municipal code. These districts were determined by the main statute of the city of Jena. These are mostly spatially separated areas or villages that were formerly independent communities. For each locality there is a local council elected by direct election at a citizens' meeting. The chairman is the also directly elected mayor of the district. The 30 districts of the city are listed in the list of districts of Jena.

In addition, the urban area of ​​Jena is divided into 41 statistical districts. These are: Ammerbach Ort, Beutenberg / Winzerlaer Straße, Burgau Ort, Closewitz, Cospeda, Drackendorf, Drackendorf / Lobeda-Ost, Göschwitz, Ilmnitz, Isserstedt, Jena-Nord, Jena-Süd, Jena-West, Jena-Zentrum, Jenaprießnitz, Krippendorf, Kunitz, Laasan, Lichtenhain Ort, Leutra, Lobeda-Altstadt, Lobeda-Ost, Lobeda-West, Löbstedt Ort, Lützeroda, Maua, Mühlenstraße, Münchenroda, Nord II, Remderoda, Ringwiese Flur Burgau, Vierzehnheiligen, Wenigenjena / Kernberge, Wenigenjena Ort, Wenigenjena / Schlegelsberg, Winzerla, Wogau, Wöllnitz, Ziegenhain Ort, Ziegenhainer Tal and Zwätze.

Mountains and heights
Due to the location of Jena in the valleys of the Saale and its tributaries, which cut into the surrounding plateau, numerous prominent peaks and mountain formations emerged, the heights of which are mostly over 300 m above sea level. NN lie. Once unforested and bare, these heights and slopes have been reforested over the past two centuries.

Other mountains in the area are west of the Saale - from north to south - the Plattenberg (345 m) on the Neuengönna district, the Jägerberg and the Windknollen (with Napoleon Stone, 363 m, both within the Jena city limits), the Cospoth (397 m ) on the districts of Jena and Bucha, the Spitzenberg (374 m) near Maua on the Rothenstein district and the Kuppe (438 m, Dürrengleina). To the east of the Saale, for example, are the (Große) Gleißberg (365 m, more rarely Gleisberg) in Golmsdorf, on which the Kunitzburg ruins stand, and the Eichberg south of the Roda confluence with the Saale in the Sulza district. There is another castle hill in the valley of the tracks.

The formation of the surface relief in the urban area, especially the valley slopes, is the result of a differentiated geological situation based on the geological conditions in the central Saale valley.



Jena is one of the climatically particularly favored areas of Germany. Due to this location, however, Jena is particularly affected by the effects of overheating of the earth's climate system in the context of climate change, which necessitates adaptation measures. The strong reflection of the sun's rays on the steep valley slopes and especially the heat storage of the shell limestone create an early and mild spring, hot summer, long and warm autumn and mild winter. With an average annual temperature of 9.3 ° C (1961–1990), Jena is one of the warmest places in Central Germany. On the plateaus 200 to 250 m higher and the areas bordering them in the east and south, the annual mean temperature is already 1 to 1.5 ° C lower. In addition, there is the sheltered location, because the course of the valley means that the winds are mostly deflected and weakened in a north-south direction. The low mountain ranges surrounding the Thuringian Basin shield the precipitation. The annual rainfall is only 570 to 680 liters per square meter, most of it falls in the summer months. Due to the warm microclimate, the region near Jena is also called Thuringian Tuscany or the Tuscany of the East.

Origin of the city name
The origin of the name Jena has always been a point of contention and is still not fully clarified today. Already in 1858 Johann Karl Schauer rejected some derivations, including from Hebrew ֶַַיַיִן jajin and ancient Greek οἶνος oínos for wine, the name Johannes in relation to the St. John's Church, the Roman god Janus, the Slavic jiny (dt. Different, different) for marked change of terrain and brittle land, as well as some German attempts to explain such as the word yawn with reference to the Schnapphans, who opens his mouth at the strike of the hour (and yawns). Schauer himself (and later also the city historian Herbert Koch) sees the solution in Celtic, especially in the word gen, which stands for mouth and in a figurative sense for mouth, with Jena's mouth shaped through the basin or, in the case of Koch, a confluence two bodies of water, the Leutra-Bach together with the Saale, is referred. The main objection to this is that the Celts never lived in East Thuringia.

The more recent discussion is mainly concerned with the question of whether the name Jani can be derived from Slavic or from German, since there is evidence of a settlement in the vicinity for both peoples. Ferdinand Mentz and Rudolf Fischer rejected a derivation using the Slavic form Jan von Johannes, mainly on the grounds that the Slavs were not yet Christianized (i.e. pagan) in the middle of the 9th century, therefore could not know the name, and they contracted Form Jan, on the other hand, did not exist before the 10th century. In addition, Fischer does not want to identify an ancient Slavonic form that Jani could refer to. A Germanic-German origin of the name is therefore favored by many name researchers. It is possible to derive from Old High German gang with the meanings aisle, path or route, or - more likely - from the agricultural and historical-vintner-linguistic expression “Jahn”, which, in addition to forest strips and farmland, also includes a part of a built-up area or a vineyard section to be done in one aisle can denote. It remains to be seen whether viticulture had already taken place at this time. Some authors are also critical of the fact that the meaning as a stripe is not characteristic enough for a place name, and that viticulture in the area probably developed outside the city center, where it no longer had any influence on the formation of the name.