Jena did not just evolve into the city of light overnight. A big part was played by its favourable location on the middle reaches of the Saale river, the prestigious Friedrich Schiller University, leading lights of German literature including Schiller and Goethe, and the city’s position as a hub of science and technology thanks to figures such as Ernst Abbe, Carl Zeiss and Otto Schott. Jena’s architecture also bears witness to this process. Thanks in part to these famous individuals, the city boasts a remarkable number of notable buildings.
Most of the large, impressive buildings in Jena date from the era of industrialisation. Much of the prodigious building work that went on during this period was due to the rise of companies such as Zeiss and Schott.
Even today, the cityscape reflects the close connections between Jena and the Bauhaus designers. The work and creative vision of famous Bauhaus masters, chief among them Walter Gropius, produced some remarkable buildings. These include residential houses, such as Haus Auerbach and Haus Zuckerkandl, but also the Zeiss Planetarium and the student refectory on Philosophenweg.
Jena has many classic art nouveau buildings. These include residential buildings, predominantly in Jena West and in the Damenviertel quarter, as well as public buildings and monuments, such as the Ernst Abbe monument and Volkshaus Jena.