Jena is a city in the middle of Germany. The city lies on the river Saale. Jena has over 100,000 inhabitants, making it the second largest city in the state of Thuringia.
Jena became a city in the Middle Ages. For a time, Jena was even the capital of the independent principality of Saxe-Jena. Later Jena belonged to the Duchy of Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach. In 1806, Napoleon's troops won the Battle of Jena and Auerstedt against the Prussian and Saxon armies. After the Second World War, Jena belonged to the German Democratic Republic, the GDR.
The Friedrich Schiller University of Jena was founded in 1558 and is now the largest university in Thuringia. It is named after the poet Friedrich Schiller, who was a professor of history in Jena. The news that Schiller was to become a professor in Jena caused great excitement at the time.
Jena is home to important companies for optics, i.e. things to do with light. The Carl Zeiss company is known all over the world: among other things, it builds projectors for planetariums and lenses for cameras and microscopes.
Well-known sights in Jena include the Optical Museum, the memorial to the Battle of Jena and Auerstedt, the planetarium and the Imaginata. The Imaginata is a theme park where children and adults can experiment with optical illusions, physics and mathematics.