Jena is a German city and the second largest city in Thuringia. Together with the nearby cities of Erfurt and Weimar, it forms the central metropolitan area of Thuringia with approximately 500,000 inhabitants, while the city itself has a population of about 110,000. Jena is a centre of education and research; the Friedrich Schiller University was founded in 1558 and had 18,000 students in 2017 and the Ernst-Abbe-Fachhochschule Jena counts another 5,000 students. Furthermore, there are many institutes of the leading German research societies.
Jena was first mentioned in 1182 and stayed a small town until the 19th century, when industry developed. For most of the 20th century, Jena was a world centre of the optical industry around companies like Carl Zeiss, Schott and Jenoptik. As one of only a few medium-sized cities in Germany, it has some high-rise buildings in the city centre, like the JenTower. These also have their origin in the former Carl Zeiss factory. Between 1790 and 1850, Jena was a focal point of the German Vormärz as well as of the student liberal and unification movement and German Romanticism.