Sights and Museums

Sights and Museums in and around Jena


Zeiss Planetarium: The Zeiss-Planetarium in Jena is the oldest continuously operating planetarium in the world. It was engineered by German engineer Walther Bauersfeld and opened on July 18, 1926. The Zeiss-Planetarium is a projection planetarium, i.e. the planets and stars are projected onto the inner surface of a white cupola. It is owned and operated by the Ernst-Abbe-Stiftung.

Botanical Garden: The Botanical Garden Jena (4.5 hectares) is the second oldest botanical garden in Germany, maintained by the University of Jena and located at Fürstengraben 26, Jena. It is open daily; a small admission fee is charged. The garden was first established in 1586 as a hortus medicus. The first heated greenhouse was added in 1674, at which time the garden first began to maintain a collection of tropical plants.

Viewing platform JenTower: The JenTower is a skyscraper in Jena. Including the antenna, the tower reaches a height of 149 meters. The building is the tallest in Eastern Germany. In 2001 the 28th and 29th floors were added and converted into a restaurant and a viewing platform.

Schillers Garden House: Schiller's Garden House is the only remaining domicile of Schiller's years in Jena. Ten years of his life he spent in Jena, a period that can easily be considered to have been the most prolific in his entire professional life, encompassing the diverse tasks of a poet, a philosopher, a historian and a university professor. He and his family used the Garden house as a summer residence between 1797 and 1799.  During this time Schiller wrote poems and dramas here, such as major parts of the Wallenstein drama, as well as the beginning and the end of Maria Stuart.

Phyletisches Museum: Founded by Ernst Haeckel, the Phyletische Museum is a globally unique institution. It is not just a natural history museum, but has been, from the start, a place dedicated to illustrating the development of life. It focuses on phylogeny and evolution theory, and it also celebrates the meeting of art and nature. 

Stadtmuseum "Göhre": Since the 13th century, the City Museum has been a residential building, a mill and a wine restaurant. Today it houses the Jena Art Collection and a gallery of modern art. The development of the city of Jena is depicted over multiple floors beginning with the founding of the town and also includes information on the geology of the central Saale Valley, as well as special features such as the Seven Wonders of Jena and a walk-in planetarium from the 17th century. Other exhibits include documents on the foundation of Jena University and the Jena Lutheran Bible.

City Church St. Michael: The Protestant town church of St. Michael in Jena has been the center of ecclesiastical life of the city for over 750 years. It invites to worship services - usually on Sundays at 10 am 6 pm - times of prayer and silence as well as to church music events. St. Michael is located in the city center and shapes the cityscape. It also contains the original tombstone of church reformer Martin Luther. 

Imaginata: The Imaginata is an "experimentarium" for the senses. It promotes the inventive spirit, imagination and creativity. Together with more than 100 sometimes walk-in experiments in the Stations Park and the Imaginata theatre, there are also exhibitions and workshops for all who want to have a try – be they children or adults.

Napoleonstein: The Windknollen at Jena is the highest elevation of the Landgrafenberg. This 361 meter high mountain is characterized by a typical short grass vegetation. In the autumn of 1806, world history was written here, when the Prussian and Napoleon's troops made the place a huge battlefield. The Napoleonstein and the museum in nearby Cospeda recall this event from over two hundred years ago. Napoleon has most likely chosen exactly this place as a strategic vantage point before and during the battle. 

Fuchsturm: The Fox Tower (Latin: Vulpecula Turris) is an old castle keep on a nearby mountain, and formerly belonged to the castle Kirchberg. The Fuchsturm is worth the trip. Sitting in splendour high above the Saale river, the tower is a popular destination for days out. It is also the site of Jena's oldest hilltop restaurant, which serves Thuringian specialities. You can walk there from the city centre in less than one hour (~ 3km).

City tour: A guided tour of Jena is the easiest way to see several places of interest in one go. It includes the Collegium Jenense, where the university was founded, as well as St John's Gate and the Pulverturm tower, the market square with the historical town hall, St Michael's Church, and many other significant locations and buildings. Tours are offered in English or German.

Weimar (distance to Jena ~ 24 km)

Goethe's Residence with National Museum: One of the most important examples of Classical Weimar, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe lived in this Baroque house for almost fifty years. He lived there from 1782 to 1789 as a tenant, then from 1792 to 1832 as the owner. The poet planned the form and furnishing of the rooms as well as its rich collections. The furnishings and fittings from the last few years of Goethe's life have largely been preserved. Shortly after the death of Goethe's last grandson Walther, Goethe's historic residence, and his art and nature collections passed on to the trusteeship of the Goethe National Museum, founded in 1885. 

Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek: The Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek (Duchess Anna Amalia Library) is one of the most famous libraries in Germany. Anna Amalia had the 'Green Palace' turned into a library comprising a unique combination of books, an art collection and architecture. The Rococo Hall is especially famous. 

Museum of Pre- and Ancient History: Unique and original finds, fascinating models, life-size reconstructions, and multimedia installations will take you on a journey through the history of Thuringia. The permanent exhibition, spread throughout 26 rooms across 1,000 m2, presents more than 3,000 artefacts from all aspects of the day-to-day lives of our ancestors. Among the exhibition pieces are such world-renowned archaeological finds as artefacts from the camp site of the Bilzingsleben Homo erectus, who hunted the huge Merck's rhinoceros (Stephanorhinus Kirchbergensis) and straight-tusked elephants (Palaeoloxodon antiquus), and the remains of a proto-Neanderthal found in travertine deposits near Weimar-Ehringsdorf.

Bauhaus Museum: On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the State Bauhaus in Weimar, the Klassik Stiftung Weimar presented the grand opening of the new Bauhaus Museum Weimar in April 2019, showcasing the treasures of the world's oldest Bauhaus collection. As a place of open encounter and discussion, the museum highlights the early phase of the most influential school of art and design of the 20th century, tying its history to questions of how we envision our living environment today and in the future.

New Museum: The former Grand Ducal Museum, built in 1869, was one of the first museums established in Germany. In years past, the museum mainly served as a venue for temporary exhibitions, but in April 2019, it reopened with a permanent exhibition on early modernist art from the Weimar Painting School to Henry van de Velde. A large museum workshop invites guests to experiment with the techniques of the arts and crafts.

Buchenwald Memorial: Buchenwald was a Nazi concentration camp established on Ettersberg hill near Weimar, Germany, in July 1937. It was one of the first and the largest of the concentration camps in the German Reich. The new designed permanent exhibition on the history of Buchenwald concentration camp was opened at the former depot building on 17th April 2016. Covering 2000 square metres, the exhibition details the history of the camp and displays how it was embedded in the German society between 1937 and 1945. Objects and mementos given to the memorial by former inmates and their relatives are on display for a broader public for the first time. These are supplemented by a multitude of exhibits, photographs, documents, and interviews which have been detected in German and foreign archives through extensive research.

Erfurt (distance to Jena ~ 55 km)

Erfurt Cathedral: Cathedral Church of St Mary at Erfurt, also known as St Mary's Cathedral, is the largest and oldest church building in Erfurt. It is the episcopal seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Erfurt. The cathedral was mainly built in the International Gothic style and is located on a hillside overlooking the main town square (Cathedral Square).

Krämerbrücke: The Merchants' bridge is a medieval arch bridge, which is lined with half timbered shops and houses on both sides of a cobblestone street. It is one of the few remaining bridges in the world that have inhabited buildings. It has been continuously inhabited for over 500 years, longer than any other bridge in Europe. The stone, pedestrian bridge, which dates from 1325, is one of the oldest secular structures in Erfurt.

Memorial and Education Centre Andreasstraße: The Memorial and Education Centre Andreasstraße commemorates the oppression and resistance exerted during the Socialist dictatorship in Thuringia in the years 1949 to 1989. The building in which the Centre is situated was formerly a remand prison run by the East German Ministry of State Security (Stasi).

Old Synagogue and Jewish Museum: The Old Synagogue, with parts dating from the 11th century, is the oldest synagogue in Central Europe that has been preserved up to its roof. In 2009 an extraordinary museum and space was created here, in which medieval reminders of the Erfurt Jewish community can be viewed. Together with the documentation of the building history of the synagogue itself it provides an insight into the life of the Erfurt community, which in the Middle Ages held a prominent position in Europe.

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