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Thuringia is often called the “green heart of Germany” due to the vast stretches of unspoilt countryside in the Thuringian Forest, Southern Harz Mountains, Kyffhäuser Hills, Saale Valley and the Rhön Mountains. Following reunification, the districts of Erfurt, Gera and Suhl and surrounding areas became the Free State of Thuringia. Agriculture and the food industry play an important role here. Other key economic sectors include glass, mining, wood, metal products and the automotive industry. But there are also newer sectors such as the plastics industry, solar energy and medical technology. Thuringia boasts nine state universities including the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena which, having been founded in 1558, is one of Germany’s oldest universities.
Thuringia prides itself on its many important cities including the capital Erfurt, Classical Weimar, the university town of Jena, Gera the centre of eastern Thuringia, and the cities of Gotha, Altenburg and Meiningen as former seats of the Thuringian court. A great deal of German history has been played out here, for example, Martin Luther translated the Bible into German in Wartburg Castle near Eisenach. The city of Weimar has a plethora of culture: monuments and museums shed light on the lives of Goethe and Schiller and the Weimar Republic was proclaimed here in 1919. Thuringia also boasts six multi-purpose theatres, eleven orchestras and various festivals including the Jena Kulturarena and the Weimar Art Festival.
With kind permission of the Bundesrat (January 2013)