Foto: JenaKulturInterior of the City Church in Jena
Many people associate the name of this town in Thuringia with Carl Zeiss’ factories for the production of optical products or with ‘Jena glass’. However, Jena can look back on a long and significant history. The city was already mentioned in a source from 1182 and became a part of the Electorate of Saxony in 1423.
After the Leipzig Division of 1485, Jena remained in the Ernestine area of Saxony and was thus the scene of historically significant events during the Reformation. In 1524, the texts of Protestant reformers were printed here, Luther preached in the parish church, and he took part in a disputation with Karlstadt.
Hanfried at the helm of the Protestants
John Frederick I (the Magnanimous; 1503-54), Elector of Saxony, was particularly important for the history of Jena and is often affectionately referred to as 'Hanfried' here. He led the Protestant forces in the Schmalkaldic War, but then lost his electorate to his cousin Maurice of Saxony ¬a member of the Albertine line of succession – and was also captured. During his captivity, he founded the ‘Hohe Schule zu Jena’ – the original manifestation of the town’s present university.