October 17, 2021

Jena - a city with county rights in central Germany, in the federal state of Thuringia, on the Soława River. With 104,449 inhabitants (December 31, 2009), it is the second largest city in the federal state after Erfurt.


Middle Ages

For a long time, the beginnings of the city were identified with the settlement of Jani from the end of the 9th century, but there is no agreement among historians. Another theory is that the name refers to today's Wenigenjena, where extensive traces of settlement from the 8th and 9th centuries were discovered near the Schiller Church (German: Schillerkirche). In Latin texts, Jena is called Athens on the Soława (Latin Athenae ad Salam). The first documented records come from 1182. The rulers of Lobdeburg, who owned Jena from the 12th century, elevated the settlement to the city in 1230. Soon the city walls were built. The rapid boom in wine growing brought considerable profits to the residents. In 1286, the Dominican Order built its monastery here, in 1301, at the church of St. Michael (Michaeliskirche) a Cistercian convent was established. With the weakening of the Lobdeburg dynasty, the counts of Schwarzburg and the Wettins appear. The last ones take possession of the town completely in 1331. A year later it is granted city rights under Gothy law. In 1414, a Carmelite monastery was established. The city's prosperity is expressed in the reconstruction of the church of St. Michael (Michaeliskirche) in 1380/90 and the town hall at the end of the 14th century. From 1423, Jena belonged to the Saxon electorate, over which the Wettins took over after the death of the last representative of the Ascan dynasty. As a result of the division of Leipzig (German: Leipziger Teilung) in 1485, Jena remains in the electorate of Saxony belonging to the Ernestinian Wettin line.


The Reformation came to the city in 1523 with the radical theologian Martin Reinhardt, who was expelled a year later after Martin Luther intervened. In 1525, peasants and part of the town's inhabitants destroyed the Carmelite monastery and devastated the Dominican monastery. As a result of their defeat in the Schmalkaldic War in 1546-47, the Ernestyn family lost their electoral dignity. From then on, Jena belonged to the Duchy of Saxony. In 1548, the Higher School was established at the Dominican monastery, from which a university was established after ten years. The decision to establish a university influenced the further development of the city. From the beginning of the 16th century, there was a printing house in the city, which flourished in cooperation with the university and in the 17th century brought the city second only to Leipzig in this field. After the partition of the country in 1572, the university remained under the Ernestinian protectorate, while the city fell to the Duchy of Weimar. For a short period (1672-1690) Jena was the capital of the independent principality of Saxony-Jena. After the death of the last prince of Saxe-Jena, in 1692 the city fell to the Ernestinian line of princes of Saxony-Eisenach, and in 1741 to the principality of Saxe-Weimar, which in 1828 was elevated to the rank of the Grand Duchy of Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach. This state of affairs lasted until 1918. In the period of theological disputes in the second half of the 16th century, the university was the center of Lutheran Orthodoxy (Matthias Flacius). After the Thirty Years' War, it flourished and between 1706 and 1720, with 1,800 students, it was among the leading universities in Germany. The baroque period was expressed in great city buildings. The princely court encouraged people to care for art and music. Collegium Musicum, which organized academic concerts, started its activity in 1570. The decline in wine growing, the decline in student numbers, and the troubles of printing in the 18th century caused a crisis in the city's economy. In 1788, the city's finances were placed under compulsory administration. During the reign of Prince Charles August (1775-1828) and his minister Johann Wolfgang Goethe, new ideals from Weimar influenced Jena

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