Location and surroundings

When you approach Jena – from whichever direction – what is immediately apparent is the special appeal and unique nature of the countryside in which the city is embedded.

In the valley of the Saale

Jena is on one of the loveliest river landscapes in Germany, in the deeply carved-out valley of the Saale. Steep limestone banks, rising about 400 m up, with many valleys branching off, form the city’s distinctive backdrop.

Jena Paradies
(Foto: Martin Heinrich)

A habitat for rare plants and animals

The limestone slopes of the Saale valley, which enjoy warm temperatures, not only make the unique landscape of the city what it is, but also provide important habitats for rare, and sometimes severely endangered, native plant and animal species. As well as the limestone (Muschelkalk) slopes, which stand out the most, the geological and climatic benefits of the area have created a varied landscape with deciduous woods, meadow orchards, dry and semi-dry grassland and damp biotopes with a remarkable diversity of species, such as the 27 types of orchids and the lesser horseshoe bat, which is at risk of extinction in Germany. To preserve this attractive habitat for the plant and animal world, large parts of these areas are under special protection.

(Foto: Martin Heinrich)

Jena's woods

Altogether, one third of Jena's urban area is wooded. Here, too, the climate, which is dry and warm by European standards, is the decisive factor for the specific vegetation: on the south-facing limestone slopes, in particular, there is a recognisable inclination towards a Mediterranean climate. This results in the dominance of trees adapted to these climatic conditions – deciduous woods abound with hornbeams, sessile oaks, lime trees and wild service trees, as well as coniferous forests with pine and black pine.

The city woods are also the habitat for plant and animal species which thrive in warm temperatures, and are largely classified as nature reserves. Moreover, the city woods also provide an escape for the residents of Jena and visitors to the city. The network of hiking trails which extends for about 450 km through the area is maintained by the city forester.

(Foto: Toma Babovic)
Its woods, parks and garden plots make Jena a green city, and the urban areas themselves have a lot of green havens. The Botanical Gardens or Jenaer Paradies, for example, are particularly attractive. The Saale flows for about 14 km through the city, so it is hardly surprising that the pastures of the city park are a central recreation site and much-loved oasis in the city.


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Corresponding Links
Jena, city of sports
Getting to Jena
Jena tourist information centre
Markt 16
07743 Jena

Hotline: +49 (0) 3641 49-8050