Have the article read to you!

It is nestled between the leafy shell limestone slopes directly on the Saale River and, with 110,000 inhabitants, is the second largest city in Thuringia after the state capital Erfurt: Jena. Home to great poets and scientists such as Friedrich Schiller, Carl Zeiss, Ernst Abbe and Otto Schott. A diverse and colorful student city with inviting cafés, restaurants and places to sit outside and soak up the sun. And a destination for those seeking recreation who want to discover the nature around Jena. For here await with the hiking trail SaaleHorizontale and the Saale Cycle Path are worth experiencing and even multiple award-winning destinations for active vacationers.

Jena is also known as the City of Light is the name of the city. This is because the city is considered the cradle of the optical industry in Europe. That's right. Around 150 years ago, the scientists Carl Zeiss, Ernst Abbe and, somewhat later, Otto Schott combined their expertise in mathematics, physics, chemistry and precision mechanics to develop microscopes and optical instruments that revolutionized research. To this day, Jena is considered one of the most important locations for optics and photonics and is home to the renowned corporations ZEISS, Jenoptik and SCHOTT. 

But Goethe and Schiller also established their friendship in Jena, devoted themselves to their work in the city and probably had one or two enlightenments. Therefore, the term 'city of light' is also synonymous with the bright minds that worked and work in Jena and thus help the city to its supraregional radiance. 

Those who want to see this radiance with their own eyes should combine their stay in the city with a visit to the JenTowers which is considered a landmark of the city and towers well visible from afar in the city center. The viewing platform, which is open daily, is 128 meters above sea level. From up here you have a fabulous view over the city, the Saale valley and the surrounding nature. By the way: The tower was built according to the plans of the GDR star architect Hermann Henselmann and the cylindrical design is supposed to remind of a telescope. 

Particularly worth seeing is also the medieval City wall ensemble with the two prominent towers, the Johannistor and the Pulverturm. These are the remains of the original two-kilometer-long walls with battlements, moats, gates and flanking towers that once protected the city from unwanted invaders.

And there is also a cultural program in Jena. Especially in the summer. Because that's when the annual Cultural Arena Jena takes place. An open-air festival that transforms the Theatervorplatz in the city center into a large festival stage for music, theater and film for six weeks from July to August - this year the Kulturarena takes place from July 6 to August 22. Bands from all over the world travel for this until the whole city is bobbing to the beat. And if it does rain, Jena's museums, theaters, concert halls and the Zeiss Planetarium the ideal place of refuge. Here, for example, guests can embark on a journey to the stars and strange galaxies or travel to the Jena of 1800 in the show "Napoleon and the Stars".

The Zeiss Planetarium in Jena is the world's oldest operating planetarium. It was opened on July 18, 1926 ©C. Häcker
The Zeiss Planetarium in Jena is the world's oldest operating planetarium. It was opened on July 18, 1926 ©C. Häcker

More articles from Thuringia