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Free State of Thuringia
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Thuringian state coat of arms
State coat of arms
Basic data
Language : German
State capital : Erfurt
Form of government : parliamentary republic , partially sovereign member state of a federal state
Area : 16,172.50 km²
Foundation : May 1, 1920
October 3, 1990 (re-establishment)
ISO 3166-2 : DE-TH
Population : 2,133,378 (December 31, 2019)
Population density : 132 inhabitants per km²
Birth rate : 17,437 births
Unemployment rate : 6.3% (July 2020)
GDP (nominal): EUR 61.91 billion  ( 12th ) (2017)
Debt : EUR 14.825 billion
(September 30, 2019)
Head of Government : Prime Minister
Bodo Ramelow ( Die Linke )
President of the State Parliament : State Parliament President
Birgit Keller ( Die Linke )
Ruling parties: The Left , SPD , Greens
Allocation of seats in the 7th state parliament :
Distribution of seats in the state parliament : Out of 90 seats are accounted for:
  • The Left 29
  • AfD 22
  • CDU 21
  • SPD 8
  • Green 5
  • FDP 5
  • Last choice: October 27, 2019
    Next choice : no later than 2024
    Votes in the Federal Council : 4th
    Weimar Eisenach Suhl Gera Jena Landkreis Altenburger Land Landkreis Greiz Tschechien Saale-Holzland-Kreis Freistaat Sachsen Freistaat Bayern Saale-Orla-Kreis Landkreis Sonneberg Niedersachsen Hessen Sachsen-Anhalt Landkreis Eichsfeld Landkreis Saalfeld-Rudolstadt Landkreis Hildburghausen Landkreis Schmalkalden-Meiningen Ilm-Kreis Landkreis Weimarer Land Erfurt Landkreis Gotha Wartburgkreis Landkreis Sömmerda Kyffhäuserkreis Unstrut-Hainich-Kreis Landkreis NordhausenThuringia, administrative divisions - de - colored.svg
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    St. Mary's Church in Gera-Untermhaus
    Erfurt, cathedral and Severikirche

    Thuringia  [ tʰyːʁɪŋən ] ( officially: Free State of Thuringia ; abbreviation TH ) is a country in the center of the Federal Republic of Germany . With around 2.1 million inhabitants and an area of ​​around 16,000 square kilometers, it is one of the smaller states of the Federal Republic (twelfth largest country by population, eleventh largest by area). The state capital and largest city is Erfurt , other important centers are Jena , Gera and Weimar . Neighboring countries are the Free State of Saxony in the east and southeast, Saxony-Anhalt in the north and northeast, Lower Saxony in the northwest, Hesse in the west and the Free State of Bavaria in the south. Several places in the north-west of the country claim to be the exact center of Germany . Please click to listen!Play

    The name Thuringia has appeared as an area designation since the Thuringian Empire in the early 6th century. Thereafter, Thuringia was no longer a coherent area of ​​rule, even if the Landgrave of Thuringia managed to control large parts of the region for a relatively short time. Nevertheless, the name was retained for the landscape and was picked up in 1920 when seven free states united to form Thuringia . Former Prussian areas such as Erfurt and Northern Thuringia were added on July 9, 1945. After the dissolution of the federal states in the GDR in 1952, it was only re-established on October 3, 1990 from the three districts of Erfurt , Gera and Suhl as well as some neighboring areas and is now divided into 17 districts and six independent cities. Since 1993, Thuringia, like Bavaria and Saxony, has officially been given the addition of the Free State to the name , which is based on the historical parts of the country.

    The Thuringian economy was able to stabilize after the upheaval in the course of reunification in the period after the turn of the millennium, so that the unemployment rate today is around the national average. The structure is mainly dominated by small companies, with some regions such as southern Thuringia or the Eichsfeld still characterized by the manufacturing industry. Larger companies can be found mainly in Jena ( Zeiss , Jenoptik , Schott ) and Eisenach ( Opel , Bosch ), while Erfurt, with its diversified structure, is the most important economic center of the country. Important locations for education and research in the Free State are Jena with the fourth largest university in the new federal states , Erfurt and Ilmenau with its technical university .

    Thuringia has a high density of cultural sites of national and international standing. The “ Classic Weimar ”, the Bauhaus in Weimar , the Wartburg near Eisenach and the Hainich National Park as part of the European primeval beech forests are part of the UNESCO World Heritage . With the cathedral , the Krämerbrücke and the oldest surviving synagogue in Central Europe , the state capital has important cultural and historical sites.


    In the Thuringian Basin near Mühlberg

    Thuringia is located in the middle of Germany and borders the states of Hesse (length of the border 270 km), Bavaria (381 km), Saxony (265 km), Saxony-Anhalt (296 km) and Lower Saxony (112 km). Like Saxony and parts of Saxony-Anhalt, the Free State of Thuringia belongs to the region of Central Germany . As a result of a satellite-based survey of the state in 2007/2008, the center of Thuringia was determined in the area of ​​the municipality of Rockhausen in the Ilm district at the coordinates 50 ° 54 '12 "  N , 11 ° 1' 35"  E, about eight kilometers south of the Erfurt Cathedral .

    The landscape in Thuringia is very different. The Harz is located in the far north . In a south-easterly direction, there is an area known as the Goldene Aue , with the fertile valley of the River Helme . In the northwest is the Eichsfeld , a partially wooded hilly landscape. In the middle of the country lies the flat, very fertile Thuringian Basin . This region is one of the oldest cultural landscapes in Germany. The first local foundations have been documented here since the year 704. The Thuringian Basin is surrounded by various small mountain ranges, such as the Dün in the northwest, the Hainleite and the Windleite immediately to the north, as well as the Kyffhäuser in the north, Schmücke , Hohe Schrecke and Finne in the northeast, the Ettersberg in the southeast, the Fahner Höhe in the south and the Hainich in the west. The Hainich National Park is the only national park in the country.

    South of the Thuringian Basin is the hilly foreland of the Thuringian Forest , and finally the Thuringian Forest itself, the largest mountain range in the country. To the east, the forest merges seamlessly into the Thuringian Slate Mountains , which in turn merges into the Franconian Forest to the southeast in the Sonneberg district and in the Saale-Orla district , although only a small part of it is in Thuringia. Together they form the Thuringian-Franconian low mountain range . This low mountain range is crossed by the Rennsteig , the Kammweg. It represents the watershed between the Elbe in the north and the Weser or Rhine in the south. The Thuringian Forest is a ridge mountain range, while the Slate Mountains and the Franconian Forest are high plateaus cut by narrow valleys. The Saale valley runs east of the forest and basin . Beyond the Saale lies the Thuringian Woodland in the north, the Vogtland in the south and the Osterland in the east . In contrast to the former, the Osterland around Altenburg is not very forested and very fertile. The Franconian Line runs in the southern district of Sonneberg north of the district town of Sonneberg ; in Thuringia, this separates the Franconian Forest from the Upper Main hill country . Southwest of the Thuringian Forest, in southern Thuringia , lies the Werra Valley, followed by the Rhön in the west and the Grabfeld in the extreme south.

    The most important rivers in the country are the Werra in the southwest and the Saale in the east. Larger tributaries of the Saale are the Unstrut (with Gera ), the Ilm and the Weisse Elster . The line rises in the northwest of the country . Overall, the country is divided into the catchment areas of the Weser in the west, the Elbe in the middle and east and the Rhine in the extreme south with the intersection at the Dreistromstein near Neuhaus am Rennweg . There are no larger natural standing waters in Thuringia, but with the Bleiloch and Hohenwarte dams, two of Germany's largest reservoirs are located here.

    The highest point in the country is the Great Beerberg in the Thuringian Forest with a height of 983 meters. Other high mountains are the Schneekopf (978 m), the Große Finsterberg (944 m) and the Große Inselsberg (916 m). The highest point in Thuringia measures 1060 meters above sea level and is located on the Bleßberg in the district of Sonneberg (location of the radio system 865 m + 195 m height of the transmitter). The highest mountain in the Slate Mountains is the Great Farmdenkopf (869 m), in the Thuringian Rhön the Schnitzersberg (816 m) belonging to the Elbow and in the Thuringian Harz the Great Ehrenberg (636 m). Important elevations between the Harz and Thuringian Forest are the Birkenberg (533 m) in Eichsfeld, the Alte Berg (494 m) in Hainich, the Kulpenberg (474 m) in Kyffhäuser and the Ettersberg (482 m) near Weimar. South of the Thuringian Forest, the Dolmar (740 m) and the Große Gleichberg (679 m) emerge, east of the Saale is the highest mountain with the Rosenbühl (653 m) in the southern Vogtland, but without any special relief energy. Furthermore, the central Thuringian Forest and the adjacent western slate mountains as well as the Rhön are populated up to the ridge, so that around 20 villages in the country are over 700 meters above sea level, including Oberhof , Neuhaus am Rennweg and Steinheid as the highest places at over 800 meters (in the town center) and the Rhöndörfer Frankenheim and Birx at 750 meters , which - unlike the proto-industrial early modern foundations in the Thuringian Forest - even come from the high medieval settlement with an agricultural livelihood . The lowest points are the Unstruttal between Wiehe and Roßleben (114 m), the Saale valley near Großheringen (120 m), the Werra valley near Lindewerra (145 m) and the Pleißetal near Treben (150 m).


    Thuringia is located in the moderate climate zone of Central Europe with prevailing westerly winds. Since there are already some protective low mountain ranges between the western seas and the Free State, the climate in Thuringia is more continental than in western and northern Germany. This is particularly evident in colder winters and drier summers than in other parts of Germany.

    There are very large climatic differences within Thuringia. The Thuringian Basin in the center of the country is particularly favored. It is surrounded by mountains, so that the least amount of precipitation in Germany falls there. Straussfurt holds the record with 242 millimeters of annual precipitation in 1911. In the Thuringian Basin, 400 to 500 millimeters of annual precipitation are normal with an annual mean temperature of 8.5 degrees Celsius (1961–1990 at the Artern weather station ). The hill zones in the country are climatically about the German average. In Gera, for example, 624 millimeters of precipitation fall at a temperature of 7.8 degrees Celsius. The mountain areas in Thuringia have an unfavorable climate. Thus, on the decorations 1289 millimeters annual precipitation measured at a temperature of 4.4 degrees Celsius in section. Here the January temperature is -4 degrees Celsius and the July temperature is 12.8 degrees Celsius. In Artern on the northern edge of the Thuringian Basin, the values ​​for these months are −0.7 degrees Celsius and 17.6 degrees Celsius.

    Regular natural disasters in Thuringia are particularly floods and storms. Floods mostly occur in Vb weather conditions , in which large areas of low pressure with moist Mediterranean air move north over the Adriatic Sea, Austria, the Czech Republic and Poland and cause heavy rain on the Thuringian Forest and Slate Mountains due to their counter-clockwise rotation. In contrast, the risk of flooding as a result of rapid snowmelt is less great, since the altitude of the Thuringian Forest drains into many different rivers. After reunification, flood protection was significantly improved through the designation of appropriate areas and the creation of numerous retention basins, even on small rivers. Storms are particularly problematic for the mountain regions, as the spruce monocultures damaged by environmental pollution in the 20th century are susceptible to wind breakage , which was most recently demonstrated by Hurricane Kyrill . By increasing the biodiversity in forest operations, the effects of future storms should be reduced here. If climate change leads to a more irregular precipitation distribution, as forecast, the low-lying areas in the Thuringian Basin are exposed to a higher risk of summer drought, as the amounts of precipitation here are quite low. Agriculture tries to respond to this by switching to more drought-resistant varieties.


    The geological situation in Thuringia is characterized by a great variety of geological formations . Almost all layers of the Phanerozoic , i.e. the last 500 million years, can be detected on the surface or in the areas close to the ground in the various regions of the country .

    In relation to the history of its origins, Thuringia is divided into four so-called structural floors, which are dominant in the respective regions according to their age:

    Quarry near Haarhausen in the area of ​​the Eichenberg – Gotha – Saalfelder fault zone with clearly visible rock folds

    While the geomorphological shape of Thuringia in the south and west is almost exclusively determined by tectonic processes and erosion through precipitation, about 400,000 - 320,000 years ago in the north and east these structures were transformed by the Elster Ice Age . Accordingly, from a geomorphological point of view, the land is divided into five externally delimitable areas:

    Within the Zechstein and Triassic landscapes, flat areas are characterized by numerous faults , of which the Eichenberg – Gotha – Saalfeld fault zone , which separates the Thuringian Forest foreland from the Thuringian Basin, is the longest and most striking. In the Zechstein area in the Werra and Wipper area, there are large salt deposits that were mined particularly in the 20th century. Numerous geological phenomena can be observed in the red sandstone area of ​​the Saale valley near Jena.

    Starting with the extraction of mineral resources such as iron ore , copper slate or gold , which began in the late Middle Ages , especially in the area of ​​the Thuringian Mountains, the theoretical processing of practical geoscientific knowledge developed in the region as early as the 16th century. In 1796, the Jena Society for the Entire Mineralogy was the first ever geoscientific association. It was created at the suggestion of Goethe , who was its president from 1803 to 1830.

    Due to persistent tectonic processes, small earthquakes occasionally occur in south-east Thuringia. These have been observed by the University of Jena since the beginning of the 20th century. Today, in the east of the Thuringian Slate Mountains, there is the Moxa Geodynamic Observatory of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena and the center for engineering analysis of earthquake damage at the Bauhaus University Weimar for the investigation and assessment of possible consequences of earthquakes not only in this area.

    nature and landscape

    Spruce forest on the Schneekopf
    Beech forests in Hainich are part of the world natural heritage
    Rhön sheep
    Thuringian landscape near Drognitz

    Thanks to the diverse geological subsoil and the influence of the low mountain range on the local climate, a multitude of plant species with different ecological requirements can grow in Thuringia. A natural spatial structure of Thuringia distinguishes between the seven natural types of low mountain ranges, red sandstone hill country, shell limestone hill country, basalt hill country, arable hill country, floodplains and lowlands as well as zechstein belts on mountain edges. Within these types of natural areas, 38 individual natural areas are distinguished; The Thuringian Mountains natural area is also divided into eight sub-units.

    The potential natural vegetation of Thuringia consists of forests, which could be differentiated into different types depending on the location. Would be the most widespread of the European beech ( Fagus sylvatica) dominated beech forests, primarily Luzulo - Woodruff - Forest barley - and orchids -Buchenwälder. Other tree species could only dominate where the site conditions are less ideal. The sessile oak ( Quercus petraea ), English oak ( Quercus robur ), hornbeam ( Carpinus betulus ) and winter linden ( Tilia cordata ) would be found more frequently in the warm, dry, continental areas of the central Thuringian basin . In the low mountain ranges, on the other hand, the sycamore maple ( Acer pseudoplatanus ), the common spruce ( Picea abies ) and the now rare silver fir ( Abies alba ) can be found in addition to the red beech . Only in the highest areas of the Thuringian Forest and the Thuringian Slate Mountains would spruce-beech forests be found.

    The current flora and fauna are adapted to the German cultural landscape . As a result of human use, the vegetation consists primarily of forests, grassland, fields, settlements and bodies of water. About a third of the country's area is covered by forest. Thuringia is one of the densely wooded federal states. However, only 30% of this is near-natural deciduous forest. Coniferous forests that were planted at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries are particularly influential . The state forest administration is striving to increase the proportion of hardwood again. After Hurricane Kyrill caused massive damage, especially in the Thuringian Forest, in January 2007, the local beech-oak mixed forest instead of spruce monocultures was sometimes used again for afforestation. The main tree species in Thuringia are spruce with 42.6%, red beech with 20.1% and Scots pine with 15.7%. However, the forests are not homogeneously composed mixed forests. According to the locations, the low mountain ranges of the Middle and Eastern Thuringian Forest, the Thuringian Slate Mountains and the Harz Mountains are mostly planted with spruce. Pine forests are widespread in the red sandstone countries, such as the Holzland. In the Muschelkalk areas, including in Hainich, Dün and Hainleite, but also in the north-western Thuringian Forest, beech forests dominate.

    The grassland is mainly characterized by dry and semi- arid grass , species-rich fresh meadows in the hill countries have declined sharply. A large proportion of fresh and wet meadows is a cattle pasture used.

    Roe deer, deer, wild boar, mouflons and foxes live in the forests of Thuringia. The wildcat ( Felis silvestris ) has found its habitat again in the Hainich National Park and in the valley of the White Elster, between Greiz and Wünschendorf. The lynx ( Lynx lynx ) is once again roaming through the Harz Mountains in the north of the country . In the nature reserves of the country there are occurrences of rare bird species, including the black grouse ( Lyrurus tetrix or Tetrao tetrix ), the black stork ( Ciconia nigra ) and the corncrake ( Crex crex ). For a number of years now, there have been wolf sightings in Thuringia. At the military training area in Ohrdruf , a female wolf has been proven to have mated its territory and with a dog. Wolves have also been detected in the Thuringian Forest and in the woodland. Domestic animal species that are adapted to life in the country are, for example, the Thuringian forest goat , which has been bred for centuries, or the Rhön sheep .

    Due to the industrial pollution that was emitted between 1850 and 1990, parts of Thuringia were severely damaged at the end of this period. Since then, this damage has been partially mitigated. For example, the former uranium opencast mine in Ronneburg was renovated and sealed during the 2007 Federal Horticultural Show in Gera and Ronneburg ; the new landscape of Ronneburg was created . Another contaminated site is the tar lake in Rositz near Altenburg, which poses an extremely high risk to the environment. Overall, however, the pollution of the air and water has decreased significantly, only the Werra is - due to the Hessian potash mining - still so saline below Dorndorf (the salt content corresponds in many places to that of the Baltic Sea ) that many plants and animals cannot survive . Wastewater discharges from the K + S Group repeatedly caused disputes between the municipalities and the states of Thuringia and Hesse in this region. In areas of intensive agricultural use, smaller streams continue to suffer from increased nitrate input from area fertilization.

    The Hainich National Park, the Rhön and Vessertal-Thuringian Forest biosphere reserves, and the Eichsfeld-Hainich-Werratal , Kyffhäuser , Thuringian Slate Mountains / Upper Saale and Thuringian Forest nature parks are significant nature reserves in Thuringia . Since its recognition by the World Heritage Committee on June 25, 2011, central areas of the Hainich National Park have been among the 36 World Heritage Sites in Germany. By 2030, 5% of all forest areas are to be completely taken out of economic use in order to develop into natural forests in the long term. In addition to the Hainich, areas are planned for this in the Hohe Schrecke , in the Hainleite am Possen and in the Pöllwitzer Wald , which were largely used for military purposes before 1990 and are still partially contaminated by ammunition remains.


    Thuringia has around 2.14 million inhabitants, although the number of inhabitants has been declining since the end of the Second World War. This is why the aging of the population is already well advanced in a German comparison and the birth deficit is comparatively high, although the fertility rate (births per woman) is above the national average. The migration balance was positive again in 2013 for the first time since 1996, as emigration to other federal states is falling and immigration from abroad is increasing sharply at the same time. Only a few migrants live in the country, so the proportion of foreigners (around 4% in 2015) is one of the lowest in Germany. At the local level, the population development is different, so the two large cities of the state have been growing again since 2003 ( Erfurt ) and 1999 ( Jena ), while the communities in rural areas in particular are losing population due to aging. The urbanization trend in Thuringia continues.

    Settlement structure

    Thuringian chain of cities : Erfurt, Jena and Gera highlighted as regional centers and potential regiopoles .

    In terms of population density, Thuringia ranks second behind Saxony among the five new federal states. Nevertheless, the population density is now lower than that of all the "old" countries, while Thuringia was one of the more densely populated regions in Germany before the Second World War . The population density is greatest along the Thuringian chain of cities, which stretches across the middle of the country from west to east and where the six largest cities in Thuringia are located. The population density is also higher on the northern and southern edges of the Thuringian Forest or Slate Mountains, along the connection from Halle to Kassel in the north and in the valleys of Saale , Werra and Unstrut .

    The area between the Werra and the state border in the south, the area around the Saale reservoirs in the southeast, the woodland between Roda and Orlatal and the north of the Thuringian Basin are sparsely populated . In terms of settlement geography, large, often self-contained villages with numerous farmsteads and quite large corridors such as Herbsleben dominate west of the Saale in the plains , while in the areas east of the Saale, which did not belong to the German old settlements , the places mostly consist of only a few farmsteads like Gieba . However, the local density there is much higher. With a similar total population density in the district of Gotha in the western center of the country, each place has an area of ​​around ten square kilometers, while in Altenburger Land in the east it is only around two square kilometers. In the forest areas there are inconsistent settlement structures, there are both "industrial villages " that have grown into cities, such as Zella-Mehlis or Lauscha, as well as places consisting of only a few houses such as Allzunah . Depending on the definition of place, there are between 2,500 and 3,000 places in the Free State, of which 126 currently have city rights. In addition, there are around 20 former cities that were incorporated or lost their rights again.

    The State Development Plan 2025 specifies spatial policy objectives for the period up to 2025. The challenge of regional spatial planning is the approximation to equivalent living conditions in the entire country. It is particularly important to counteract infrastructural deficits in rural and peripheral areas and to deal with the problems associated with demographic change. There are three regional centers in the state, all of which are located along the center of the state - Erfurt, Jena and Gera. They are considered to be potential regiopolises , which already played a role in Erfurt's 2008 urban development concept for networking with neighboring cities to form a regiopole region .

    Other regional centers which radiate to Thuringia, are in the south of the Franconian cities of Coburg , Bamberg , Schweinfurt and Würzburg and the Hesse Fulda for Western Rhon. In the southeast, Zwickau , Plauen and Hof hold central functions for the Vogtland. Göttingen and Kassel act as regional centers for the Eichsfeld . In the northeast, the area around Artern is oriented towards Halle and the northern Altenburger Land towards Leipzig .

    In addition, in the parts of the country that are peripheral to the Thuringian city chain on the A4, some medium-sized cities occupy a structural position between the upper center and the middle center . Nordhausen was able to establish itself as a regional center for the southern Harz region and northern Thuringia with a growing university. Also Eisenach takes with its powerful economy in West Thuringia and parts of northern Osthessens a central function. Mühlhausen and Saalfeld / Rudolstadt showed less dynamism, but can still be considered regional centers in the north-west and south-east of the country. The importance of Suhl as a center in the south-west of the country, on the other hand, has declined due to the decline of the retail trade there and due to the continuing sharp decline in population, but is supplemented by Meiningen . In the middle of the state, in addition to the regional centers Erfurt and Jena, Weimar and Gotha also have higher central local functions.

    The other medium-sized and some small towns are medium-sized centers with a focus on the local area. The range extends from places with 25,000 inhabitants to small towns with well below 10,000 inhabitants.

    In the field of intermunicipal cooperation, the cities of Jena and Gera are members of the metropolitan region of Central Germany and the district of Sonneberg has joined the metropolitan region of Nuremberg . The “impulse region” also exists as a cooperation between Erfurt, Weimar, Jena and the Weimarer Land as the central settlement and economic area of ​​the state.


    Distribution of the individual dialects

    The Linguistic Commission of the Saxon Academy of Sciences in Leipzig differentiates between nine regional dialects in Thuringia, seven of which belong to the Thuringian-Upper Saxon dialect group and two to the Main Franconian dialect group . In addition, with the Rhöner Platt and Grabfeldisch two other Main Franconian dialects are usually mentioned, the distribution areas of which are to a large extent also in neighboring East Hesse and Lower Franconia .

    Central Thuringia is spoken in the center of the country around Erfurt , Arnstadt , Ilmenau , Gotha , Bad Langensalza and Sömmerda . To the north follow northern Thuringian around Mühlhausen , Nordhausen , Bad Sachsa , Sondershausen , Stolberg (Harz) , Kelbra and the southern Eichsfeld and northeast Thuringian around Artern , Sangerhausen . and Nebra. To the east of the distribution area of ​​Central Thuringia , the Ilmthuringia borders around Eckartsberga , Weimar , Jena , Rudolstadt and the Schwarzatal , which in turn merges east into Southeast Thuringia . This dialect is mainly spoken around Saalfeld , Pößneck , Schleiz , Greiz and Gera . The East Thuringian dialect is spoken in the east of the country , this is especially true in the Holzland and the Osterland around Altenburg . In the Eisenach - Bad Salzungen area , West Thuringian prevails , a dialect in which influences from East Hesse can already be identified. In southern Thuringia , the Main Franconian language areas with Hennebergisch are in the Werra catchment area around Suhl and Meiningen , Itzgründisch in the Itz catchment area around Sonneberg as far as Hildburghausen and in the Heldburger Land , Rhöner Platt in the southwest of Bad Salzungen, Grabfeldisch in the southwestern district of Schmalkalden-Meiningen and in western district of Hildburghausen.

    Upper Hesse can be found in the former Hessian enclave Schmalkalden . In addition , Upper Franconian is spoken in Heinersdorf in the Sonneberg district , beyond the Bamberg barrier . In the north of Eichsfeld, a Low German dialect of East Westphalian is traditionally spoken.

    The Thuringian dialects combine similar features, with these becoming more and more apparent from west to east. The four Main Franconian dialects are seamless, clearly audible differentiated from them and particularly pronounced in the Itzgründischen language area. The Rennsteig as the old border route of the medieval Gaue is the hard border here, only the salt arch, also south of the Rennsteig (roughly along the Werra between Breitungen , Bad Salzungen and Vacha ) forms an approx. 20 km wide transition zone with Franconian, Hessian and Thuringian Language elements.

    Religions and worldviews

    The Georgenkirche in Eisenach is the episcopal church of the Evangelical Church in Thuringia
    Proportion of Protestant residents at community level according to data from the 2011 census
    Proportion of Catholic residents at community level according to data from the 2011 census

    68% of the population do not profess any religious community today. In 2018, 20.8% belonged to the Protestant Church and 7.6% to the Roman Catholic Church .

    The country's schools offer Protestant, Catholic and Jewish religious instruction. Students can choose between religious instruction or ethics as a subject . Religious instruction can be given by both state and church teachers.

    Thuringia was Christianized as early as the 8th century by Bonifatius , which is why he is sometimes referred to as the "missionary of the Thuringians". Until the introduction of the Reformation, the population therefore belonged to the Catholic faith.

    The Thuringian states were one of the first Protestant regions in the world in the 16th century, as the reformer Martin Luther had a sponsor in Elector Friedrich von Sachsen . In addition, the background of the Reformation took place in part in Thuringia: Luther completed his theology studies at the University of Erfurt , his family himself came from Möhra , the Bible translation was made in parts on the Wartburg and the Peasants' War and the Schmalkaldic War as the consequences of the Reformation were largely carried out in Thuringia too. The Reformation Anabaptist movement was also widespread in large parts of Thuringia. One of the centers of the Central German Anabaptists was the city of Mühlhausen , where Thomas Müntzer had already worked in 1525 .

    After that, however, the Protestant Church never had the social influence that the Catholic Church had in its areas. Most of the Thuringian states were already considered liberal and enlightened in the 18th century, which was mainly promoted by the Weimar ducal family.

    The disintegration of the former Lutheran state church caused by the German Christians , the atheistic worldview of the SED , the corresponding education in schools and career disadvantages for Christians later contributed to the fact that the majority of the population left the church and today the proportion of Protestant- Lutheran Christians make up just under a quarter of the total population. In the Protestant Church, Thuringia is part of the Evangelical Church in Central Germany (EKM) formed in 2009 , which essentially comprises the federal states of Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt. The former district of Schmalkalden is the only part of the country not belonging to the EKM, but to the Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck (EKKW). There are large regional differences in the proportion of residents remaining in the Protestant church. As everywhere, rural communities have a higher proportion than cities. Regions with a Protestant population of over 50% are the Rhön (if the places are not Catholic), the Grabfeld and the Heldburger Land on the southwestern border, the places on the Hainich between Eisenach and Mühlhausen , the communities between Schmalkalden and the Rennsteig in Thuringia Forest as well as the region around the Plothener ponds and the Saale dams in southeast Thuringia. Outside the Catholic areas and the larger cities, the regions around Artern and the northern Altenburger Land have particularly low proportions of Protestant residents.

    Among the new federal states, Thuringia is the one with the highest Catholic population. Apart from some Upper Sorbian communities in Lusatia, it is the only country in East Germany to have traditionally Catholic areas. First and foremost, this includes the Eichsfeld , which belonged to Kurmainz until 1802 . In the Eichsfeld district (which is not completely congruent with the historical region), the proportion of Catholics according to the 2011 census was 69.5%, making it the only district in the new federal states that still had a church-bound majority of the population. Eichsfeld in the historical sense also includes the communities in the northwestern Unstrut-Hainich district from Südeichsfeld in the southwest to Dünwald in the northeast, which are also mostly Catholic. Another former Electoral Mainz region was the state capital Erfurt and its surrounding area, which is why there is traditionally a Catholic minority in Erfurt (2011: 6.8%) and some of the Erfurt rural villages remained predominantly Catholic. With the exception of Witterda , these villages are all parts of Erfurt today. A third Catholic region is the area between Geisa , Dermbach and Zella in the Rhön in the southern Wartburg district , which until 1802 belonged to the Fulda monastery . Furthermore, some larger cities have significant Catholic minorities, which (with the exception of Erfurt) are the result of migration since 1871, for example Mühlhausen (10.3%), Jena (6.6%) and Weimar (6.1%). In the rest of the country, the proportion of Catholics is well below 5%. Most of the Catholics are organized in the Diocese of Erfurt . Smaller parts of the country also belong to other dioceses (East Thuringia to the diocese of Dresden-Meißen , Geisa to the diocese of Fulda ).

    Jewish communities existed in Thuringia on a small scale since the 12th century, so never more than 5000 to 6000 Jews lived in the country. Most of them lived in the relatively free cities of Erfurt, Mühlhausen and Nordhausen. In the early modern period, some “ protective Jews ” also settled in the Rhön and in the Werra Valley in the southwest. From around 1870 they migrated to the cities, mainly to Eisenach, Gotha, Meiningen and Suhl. The time of National Socialism brought an abrupt end to Jewish life in Thuringia. Since the Second World War, only the Jewish community in Erfurt has existed with around 750 members (2007) throughout Thuringia.

    Other religious communities only play a minor role in Thuringia. Various Christian free churches maintain their own small communities in medium-sized cities. The Muslim communities only have a few thousand members, although no official statistics are collected here, since Islam, in contrast to various Christian churches, is not organized as a corporation under public law. According to the Central Register of Foreigners , around 35,000 foreigners from predominantly Muslim countries lived in Thuringia in 2016, which corresponds to one to two percent of the total population.


    From the Thuringian tribe to the Landgraviate

    Medieval Erfurt with two wall rings and numerous churches
    High point of small states around 1680

    The Thuringian tribe was formed during the migration period . Their origins are controversial, so an often assumed connection to the older Hermunduren is scientifically not tenable, rather it is more likely that the tribe was formed from local groups as well as groups who immigrated from the east. The toringi were first mentioned by Flavius ​​Vegetius Renatus in the late 4th century, who wrote about their horses and placed them in connection with the Huns and Burgundians . Later the Thuringians founded a kingdom with a settlement focus in the fertile Thuringian basin along the Unstrut. It existed until 531, when the Franks smashed it with the help of the Saxons and incorporated the area west of the Saale into the Franconian Empire . Around 620 the Merovingians founded the Duchy of Thuringia, which existed until the late 8th century. The first written records in the country also fall during this period, including from Arnstadt in 704 and from Erfurt in 742. At the same time, Bonifatius evangelized in the country, who founded the diocese of Erfurt .

    The Saxon Ottonians made the area on the lower Unstrut between Naumburg and Sangerhausen a center of the Holy Roman Empire in the 10th century. A Thuringian tribal duchy of its own could not develop in this way. The greatest power in the Thuringian region at that time was the county of Weimar . Only the Ludowingers were able to bring considerable parts of Thuringia under their control again. So let Louis the Springer in 1067 the Wartburg build. His descendants were born in 1131 by the later Emperor Lothar III. raised to landgrave of Thuringia. Among them, the region blossomed into a center of German culture in the High Middle Ages, especially the singing war on the Wartburg and the work of St. Elisabeth of Thuringia are worth mentioning in this context. In 1247 the Landgrave family died out, whereupon the Thuringian-Hessian War of Succession began. It ended in 1264 when the Wettins received large parts of the land and integrated them into their state. The Wettin rule over Thuringia began for almost 700 years and only ended with the abolition of the monarchies in Germany in 1918. In the Thuringian Count War between 1342 and 1346, the Counts of Schwarzburg , Weimar-Orlamünde and Hohnstein as well as the Vögte von Weida tried to push back the supremacy of the Wettins, but they did not succeed.

    In the 12th century the process of regional development in Thuringia intensified . The first fortified cities such as Mühlhausen (1135) or Saalfeld (1180) emerged. At the same time, Erfurt's heyday began. The population reached around 20,000 in the 14th century, making the city one of the largest in the empire. Erfurt was equipped with about 30 parish churches and monasteries of almost all orders present in Central Europe, two mighty wall rings, a cathedral and St. Peter's Monastery . In 1331 the city received the imperial trade fair privilege over 150 years before Leipzig (1497), in 1392 the third university in Germany was founded in the city. Erfurt's heyday ended at the beginning of the 16th century when the political and economic framework conditions deteriorated. The city's wealth was based in part on the trade in woad , by the cheaper after the discovery of America Indigo was replaced, thus a crucial source of income broke away. However, the political causes weighed more heavily. As a result of the Reformation , the city's population and city council became Protestant, while the sovereign, the Archdiocese of Mainz , remained Catholic. The Archbishop of Mainz suppressed the city of Erfurt and the city council, on the other hand it was located as an exclave in the middle of the Saxon dominion, which hampered the economy of Erfurt, so that the city was overtaken by the up-and-coming trading cities of Frankfurt am Main and Leipzig.

    The most important noble families of medieval Thuringia were, in addition to the dominant Wettins and the Ludowingers (Landgraves of Thuringia; 1040–1247), the Counts of Beichlingen (in Northern Thuringia; 1080 to approx. 1600), the Counts of Gleichen (in Central Thuringia; 1099–1631) , the Counts of Hohnstein (in the Harz foreland; 1184–1593), the Counts of Kevernburg (in the foreland of the Thuringian Forest; 8th century to 1385), the Lobdeburgers (in East Thuringia; approx. 1100 to approx. 1300), the Counts of Schwarzburg (in the Thuringian Slate Mountains and its foreland; 1071-1918), the Counts of Stolberg (in the Harz; 1210-1806), the Counts of Vitzthum (in the Weimar-Jena area; from 1123), the Bailiffs of Weida (in the Elstertal, Ancestors of the Counts of Reuss ; 1209–1918) and the Counts of Weimar-Orlamünde (in Central Thuringia; 949–1486). At the end of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, only the Ernestines, as descendants of the Wettins, and the now prince- reuss and Schwarzburger, were able to secure their power in Thuringia. They ruled until the end of the monarchy in 1918.

    Thuringia under the Ernestines in the 16th and 17th centuries

    Luther region 1519.png
    The forerunner of today's Thuringia: Ernestine Saxony (orange) in 1519
    Lucas Cranach (I) workshop - Martin Luther (Uffizi) .jpg
    Martin Luther (after Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1529)

    In 1485, with the division of Leipzig, the Wettin lands were divided between the younger Albertines in the east and the older Ernestines in the west. At the same time they took over the electoral dignity from the Wettins. The Ernestines initially ruled over large parts of Thuringia, only a strip in the central Thuringian Basin along the Unstrut belonged to the Albertines.

    With the Reformation at the beginning of the 16th century, Thuringia moved to the center of German politics. Martin Luther first studied at the University of Erfurt and lived in the Augustinian monastery before he went to Wittenberg and the Reformation began. Finally he was hidden by the Saxon Elector Friedrich the Wise in the Wartburg, where he worked on the translation of the Bible into German. In 1525, as a result of the Reformation, the Peasants' War began , which found two of its centers in the Thuringian cities of Mühlhausen and Frankenhausen and a strong leader in Thomas Müntzer . Later the Schmalkaldic War began in Thuringia between the Catholic Empire and Protestant princes, which ended in 1547 with the Wittenberg surrender and a defeat of the Protestants. Therefore, the Saxon electoral dignity passed from the Ernestines, who were increasingly losing importance, to the Albertines. When the Franconian Counts of Henneberg died out in 1583, a contract of inheritance came into force, which brought the Ernestines extensive possessions in Franconia , the area of ​​what is now southern Thuringia . With the partition of Erfurt in 1572, the ongoing fragmentation of the Ernestine possessions began into numerous duchies, some of which lasted until 1918. In 1640 two main Ernestine lines emerged: the House of Saxe-Weimar and the House of Saxe-Gotha . While the former had only a few subsidiary lines and the first German-Prussian Empress Augusta of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach was the highest representative , the House of Saxe-Gotha had many subsidiary lines, which mostly ruled over their own country. This house also houses a number of European kings, including the British kings (since 1901), the Belgian kings (since 1831), the Portuguese kings (1837–1910) and the Bulgarian kings (1887–1946).

    In the period that followed, the phase of humanism began in Thuringia, during which the University of Erfurt also flourished. A center of German humanism developed around Ulrich von Hutten and the reformers. At that time Saxony-Gotha was considered a humanistic “model state” under the rule of Ernst the Pious . For example, in 1642 he was the first head of state in the world to introduce compulsory schooling for all boys and girls up to the age of twelve.

    A center of German culture in the 18th and 19th centuries

    It was not until around 1780 that the ruling Duchess Anna Amalia and her son Karl August drew attention to the region again. They called poets such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe or Friedrich Schiller to their court, so that the Weimar Classics established itself there as the German version of the classical literary movement. During this time, a center of German philosophy was formed at the University of Jena , which was founded through the work of Johann Gottlieb Fichte , Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel . The Jena romanticism around poets such as Novalis , Clemens Brentano and Friedrich Schlegel also shaped the style throughout Germany at this time.

    “It's a strange country, this little Thuringia, where three decisive epochs in the intellectual life of the German nation have found their atmospheric setting. The legend links the noblest names of German minstrels to the Wartburg. This is where Luther later began translating the Bible, the basis of the modern German language. Finally Thuringia was once again - this time Weimar - the place where spirits even more powerful than the German minstrels stir those deep-sounding strings that still vibrate today. Where else do you find it that three times the genius of a great people chose the same little country as a high seat? "

    State map from 1871

    The Reichsdeputationshauptschluss 1803 ensured that the Archdiocese of Mainz lost its territories around Erfurt and Eichsfeld and the imperial cities of Mühlhausen and Nordhausen had to give up their independence. They were finally assigned to Prussia at the Congress of Vienna in 1815 . The equally affected until 1803 to the Bishopric of Fulda associated office Geisa was after their resolution to Orange-Nassau (1803-1806), then to the Napoleonic Grand Duchy of Frankfurt wettinischen (1810 to 1813) and then the just acquired the Congress of Vienna in 1815 there to a Grand Duchy Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach closed .

    In 1806, during the Napoleonic era, the decisive battle between the French and Prussians in Thuringia began. On October 9th there was a battle near Schleiz , followed by the battle near Saalfeld on October 10th and the decisive battle near Jena and Auerstedt on October 14th, which ended with a Prussian defeat. This was followed in 1808 by the Erfurt Prince Congress between France and Russia, at which Goethe also met Napoléon and finally the formation of the first resistance groups against French rule. The University of Jena provided the impetus here too. After the end of Napoleonic rule and the results of the Congress of Vienna, the original fraternity was formed in Jena in 1815 , which organized the Wartburg Festival in 1817 and united national and liberal movements. The first liberal constitutions were also created during this period, for example in Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach in 1816 , in Saxony-Hildburghausen in 1818 and in Saxony-Coburg-Saalfeld in 1821 . With the implementation of the Karlsbad resolutions of 1819 in Thuringia, this early phase of liberality came to an end.

    The country's cultural bloom continued in the following decades, so in 1817 the General German Educational Institute was founded as a modern school in Rudolstadt under the pedagogue Friedrich Fröbel . In 1840, Froebel founded the first German kindergarten in Bad Blankenburg . Ernst-Wilhelm Arnoldi also founded the German insurance industry in 1820 with Gothaer Versicherung. Joseph Meyer founded the Bibliographisches Institut in Gotha in 1826 , the editor of Meyer's Konversations-Lexikon . The Bibliographisches Institut & FA Brockhaus , publisher of the Brockhaus Encyclopedia , was also based in Altenburg in eastern Thuringia between 1811 and 1818 . The first Duden appeared in Schleiz in 1872 . On March 1, 1882 founded Oscar Tietz in Gera , the department store Tietz , the later department store group Hertie . In 1908 he opened the department store Römischer Kaiser (today Anger 1) in Erfurt , which is still the largest department store in the country. In the second half of the 19th century, Weimar experienced a renaissance in its "Silver Age". Musicians like Franz Liszt came to the court and the Weimar School of Painting established itself in German painting since 1860.

    Former textile industry in Gera

    In 1833 the Customs and Trade Association of the Thuringian States was founded, which spurred the industrial revolution in the country. In 1842 the first railway line reached Thuringia and in 1846 the main railway line in the country was opened with the Thuringian Railway . First, the East Thuringian textile industry around Gera took off, followed by the metal industry scattered all over the country and the optical industry in Jena, which rose to the top of the world at the beginning of the 20th century.

    The revolution of 1848 was rather unspectacular in Thuringia. Centers were found in the impoverished Eichsfeld and in the backward Reuss . At its end there was the abdication of the stubborn Duke Joseph von Sachsen-Altenburg and the abdication of Prince Heinrich LXXII. von Reuss-Ebersdorf , whose land in the Principality of Reuss younger line (ruled by the Schleizer line ) went up. The desire for a unified German state remained present even after the failed revolution and so the Erfurt Union Parliament was convened in 1850 , which took up and discussed the nation-state idea, but without achieving a breakthrough. Duke Ernst II of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha also advocated German unity, but he was also a critic of Prussian hegemonic politics , which earned the duke, who loved popular festivals, the derisive name of "Schützenkönig".

    In the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, most of the Thuringian states sided with Prussia, only Sachsen-Meiningen and Reuss of the older line were allied with Austria. This circumstance led Bismarck to want to incorporate the two states into the Kingdom of Prussia after the end of the war, but this did not happen due to the intervention of the Weimar Grand Duke Karl August , the brother-in-law of the Prussian king. Instead, only the rulers of the two states, Bernhard II von Sachsen-Meiningen and Caroline von Reuss-Greiz , were deposed.

    As a result of industrialization, Thuringia became the cradle of social democracy. In 1869 August Bebel and Wilhelm Liebknecht founded the Social Democratic Workers 'Party in Eisenach , which merged with the General German Workers' Association in Gotha to form the SPD in 1875 . The Gotha Program and the Erfurt Program subsequently set the goals of social democratic politics in Germany.

    Between the First and Second World Wars (1914–1945)

    After the first Reich President Friedrich Ebert was sworn in on August 21, 1919 at the German National Theater in Weimar

    The November Revolution of 1918 after the First World War had its center in Thuringia in the Free State of Saxony-Gotha under revolutionary leader Wilhelm Bock . The USPD was founded in Gotha on April 8, 1917 . First of all, the eight Thuringian monarchs abdicated between November 9th and 25th, 1918. A communist council was formed in the Free State of Saxony-Gotha. Up until 1920, Sachsen-Gotha got into political quarrels and conditions similar to civil war. A special incident was the Mechterstädt murders in 1920. Because of the political unrest in Berlin, the new Reich constitution was drawn up by the National Assembly as the Weimar Constitution in Weimar in 1919, signed by Reich President Ebert in Schwarzburg, making it the first democratic constitution for all of Germany Force set.

    After the monarchs abdicated, the way was clear to found a unified state in Thuringia. The state of Thuringia was therefore founded on May 1st, 1920 . It comprised the Thuringian states , namely Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach , Saxe-Gotha , Saxe-Meiningen , Saxe-Altenburg , Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt , Schwarzburg-Sondershausen and the people's state Reuss . The Free State of Coburg joined Bavaria. The development of the young country was marked by political and cultural turmoil in the 1920s. This strengthened the political extremists from the right and left. Society was also divided: young modernizers, who from 1919 gathered at the Bauhaus in Weimar, were opposed to old traditionalists who longed for the monarchy. At that time Hitler was banned from speaking in many German states, but not in Thuringia, which is why he was able to hold rallies in Weimar again and again in the 1920s.

    Former Buchenwald concentration camp

    In 1923 a state government made up of the SPD and KPD was formed, which led to Red October in Saxony and Thuringia. The two countries were on 29 October (Saxony) and on November 6 (Thuringia) with the Reichsexekution occupied and the Reichswehr invaded to depose the government, what do you succeeded. The SPD responded with a vote of no confidence in Chancellor Gustav Stresemann in the Reichstag, which led to his removal. The 1920s were marked by political stagnation and constantly changing state governments. As early as 1930, the Baum-Frick government was the first state government to be established in Germany with the participation of the NSDAP.

    After the National Socialists came to power, the state of Thuringia was brought into line and thus effectively abolished. Gauleiter of Thuringia was Fritz Sauckel . During the period of National Socialism, there were three concentration camps in the country in addition to the Nohra concentration camp, which was operated briefly in 1933 : the Bad Sulza concentration camp from 1933 to 1937, its successor, the Buchenwald concentration camp near Weimar from 1937 to 1945 and the Dora Mittelbau concentration camp near Nordhausen from 1943 to 1945 .

    The Second World War caused comparatively moderate damage in Thuringia. The British air raids on Nordhausen on April 3 and 4, 1945 almost completely destroyed the city, killing around 8,800 people. Damage from bombing and artillery fire also occurred in Erfurt, Gera, Jena, Weimar, Eisenach and some smaller towns and villages.

    Since 1945

    Thuringia was occupied between 1 and 16 April 1945 by the Americans and 1 July 1945, the Soviet military administration passed, and areas around the town of Bad Sachsa and Tettenborn in exchange for part of the district Blankenburg to the British military administration were left . The Ostheim exclave in front of the Rhön remained under American military administration and later became part of Bavaria. The state of Thuringia was restored and expanded to include the formerly Prussian administrative district of Erfurt .

    From August 1945 to 1950, the Soviet occupation maintained special camp No. 2 Buchenwald in the area of ​​the former concentration camp near Weimar.

    The state of Thuringia was dissolved by the GDR government in 1952. The largest parts went to the newly founded districts of Erfurt , Gera and Suhl . The Altenburg and Schmölln districts went to the Leipzig district , in return the Pausa-Mühltroff , which once belonged to the Kingdom of Saxony, came to the Gera district.

    The Nordhausen district was created , which consists of the Hohenstein district , the former Hanoverian district of Ilfeld and the western part of the former Prussian district of Sangerhausen . The same applies to the newly formed Sömmerda district , which was made up of the Prussian district of Weißensee and the western part of the district of Eckartsberga with the city of Kölleda . Both circles came to the Erfurt district. There was also the new district of Artern , which was made up of southern parts of the Prussian district of Sangerhausen, the extreme northwest of the district of Eckardsberga and the former subordinate rule of Frankenhausen of the principality of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt. This district came together with the rest of the Sangerhausen district to form the Halle district . The rest of the Eckardsberga district was divided between the newly formed Nebra and Naumburg districts, which were also assigned to the Halle district.

    Memorial to the division of Germany in Mödlareuth

    At the popular uprising June 17, 1953 participated in Thuringia about 24,000 workers, especially in the industrial centers of Erfurt, Jena and Gera. It was thrown down under a state of emergency using Soviet troops.

    On August 13, 1961, according to the resolution of the Warsaw Pact in Moscow, the complete sealing of the borders between the GDR and the Federal Republic began , which hit Thuringia particularly hard. Some villages in the border area were forcibly relocated and demolished (for example Billmuthausen , Erlebach , Leitenhausen and Liebau on the border with Bavaria), others were divided by walls ( Mödlareuth and Heinersdorf ). As early as 1952, families in the border area had been resettled as part of the vermin campaign . This affected around 6,000 people who were relocated unannounced and often leaving their property behind. In 1970 the top politicians of the two German states met for the first time. Willy Brandt and Willi Stoph met at the Erfurt summit in the Erfurter Hof on March 19, accompanied by a large crowd in front of the building at the main train station, who cheered the West German Chancellor.

    In the fall of 1989, mass demonstrations against the SED regime began in Thuringia and gradually spread to all cities in the country. On the night of November 9-10, 1989, the border crossings between Thuringia and Bavaria, Hesse and Lower Saxony were finally opened.

    With the German reunification on October 3, 1990, the Free State of Thuringia was re-established. It originated from the districts of Erfurt , Gera and Suhl as well as from parts of the districts of Leipzig (districts Altenburg and Schmölln ) and Halle ( Artern ). The Artern district, like the rest of the Halle district, was intended for the new federal state of Saxony-Anhalt . In a referendum , however, 88% voted for the assignment to Thuringia.

    On January 10, 1991, the state parliament decided which city should become the future state capital of Thuringia. In addition to Erfurt, Gera, Jena, Weimar and Nordhausen had also applied. 49 of the 88 MPs voted for Erfurt, followed by Weimar with 25, Gera with ten and Jena with four. The state's constitution was passed on October 25, 1993 at the Wartburg by the state parliament with more than two thirds of its members. It came into effect provisionally on October 30, 1993, and finally after a referendum on October 16, 1994 with 70% approval.

    After reunification , from 1991 to 1992 the 8th Guard Army of the western group of troops cleared the Thuringian territory it had occupied until then. Their troops were stationed here at 143 locations with 51,000 soldiers (and 4,000 specialists from other army units), 5,000 civilian employees and 20,000 family members.


    The state structure of Thuringia is based on the constitution of the Free State of Thuringia from 1993. According to the constitution, Thuringia is a state of the Federal Republic of Germany. It is a democratic, social constitutional state that is committed to protecting the natural foundations of human life (Article 44). Article 45 states that all state power emanates from the people and that the people realize their will through elections , referendums and referendums .

    legislative branch

    The legislature is the Thuringian Landtag, which is re-elected every five years according to the personalized proportional representation. The seventh legislative period of the Thuringian state parliament consists of 90 members and was formed on the basis of the result of the state election on October 27, 2019. The strongest party is Die Linke with 29 seats, followed by the AfD with 22 and the CDU with 21 seats. The SPD is one of the smaller parties with 8 seats, as are the Greens and FDP with 5 seats each.

    There is the possibility of active participation in the legislature of the people through referendum .

    29 8th 21st 22nd 
    Allocation of seats in the seventh electoral term of the Thuringian Parliament since October 2019
    Results of the state elections in the Free State of Thuringia (percentages)
    year electoral
    CDU PDS / Left 1 SPD AfD FDP Green
    1990 71.7 45.4 09.7 22.8 - 9.3 6.5
    1994 74.8 42.6 16.6 29.6 - 3.2 4.5
    1999 59.9 51.0 21.3 18.5 - 1.1 1.9
    2004 53.8 43.0 26.1 14.5 - 3.6 4.5
    2009 56.2 31.2 27.4 18.5 - 7.6 6.2
    2014 52.7 33.5 28.2 12.4 10.6 2.5 5.7
    2019 64.9 21.8 31.0 8.4 23.4 5.0 5.2
    1The PDS existed until 2007; The successor party is Die Linke.


    The executive branch is led by the Thuringian state government, which consists of the Thuringian Prime Minister and the ministers. The Prime Minister is elected by the state parliament with a majority of its members without discussion in a secret ballot for the entire legislative period . The Prime Minister appoints and dismisses the ministers. He also appoints a minister to be his deputy. The state parliament can only remove the prime minister by means of a constructive vote of no confidence .

    Prime Minister of the Free State of Thuringia
    No. image Name (life data) Political party Beginning of the term of office Term expires Term of office Cabinets Thuringian state parliaments
    1 KAS-Duchac, Josef-Bild-15465-2 (cropped) .jpg Josef Duchač

    (* 1938)

    CDU November 8, 1990 February 5, 1992
    (managing director from January 23, 1992)
    1 year, 2 months, 28 days

    ( 454 days )

    I. 1.
    2 Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F077600-0003, Bernhard Vogel cropped.jpg Bernhard Vogel

    (* 1932)

    CDU 5th February 1992 June 5, 2003 11 years, 4 months

    ( 4138 days )

    I , II , III 1st , 2nd , 3rd
    3 Dieter Althaus2008.jpg Dieter Althaus

    (* 1958)

    CDU June 5, 2003 October 30, 2009
    (managing director from September 3, 2009)
    6 years, 4 months, 25 days

    ( 2339 days )

    I , II 3rd , 4th
    4th Thuringia's Prime Minister Christine Lieberknecht.JPG Christine Lieberknecht

    (* 1958)

    CDU October 30, 2009 December 5, 2014
    (from October 14, 2014 managing director)
    5 years, 1 month, 5 days

    ( 1862 days )

    I. 5.
    5 2011-05-18-landtagsprojekt-erfurt-073.jpg Bodo Ramelow

    (* 1956)

    The left 5th December 2014 February 5, 2020
    (managing director from November 26, 2019)
    5 years, 2 months

    ( 1888 days )

    I. 6th
    6th 2011-05-18-landtagsprojekt-erfurt-062.jpg Thomas Kemmerich

    (* 1965)

    FDP 5th February 2020 March 4, 2020
    (executive from February 8, 2020)
    28 days none 7th
    7th 2019-10-27 Election evening Thuringia by Sandro Halank – 58.jpg Bodo Ramelow

    (* 1956)

    The left 4th March 2020 in office 0 years and 173 days

    ( 173 days)

    II 7th

    Other executive bodies are the Thuringian police , where 6,000 officers are deployed, as well as the Office for the Protection of the
    Constitution , which gained nationwide media attention through numerous affairs - especially in the area of ​​right-wing extremism and the NSU .


    Thuringian Higher Regional Court in Jena

    The judiciary is exercised by the Thuringian Constitutional Court and the other courts of the state . The Constitutional Court consists of a President and eight other members. The ordinary jurisdiction is divided into the Thuringian Higher Regional Court of Jena, the regional courts in Erfurt, Gera, Mühlhausen and Meiningen, to which the four public prosecutors are also assigned, and the subordinate local courts. There are prisons for men in Goldlauter , Gräfentonna , Hohenleuben , Untermaßfeld and Arnstadt (juvenile prison system ); the Chemnitz JVA is responsible for women .

    The Thuringian Higher Administrative Court has its seat in Weimar.

    With the Federal Labor Court in Erfurt, there is also a federal court in Thuringia.

    Political development

    Thuringia is considered a rather conservative country, especially in the rural areas, and was dominated by the CDU at the state political level until the change of government in 2014. Then the first red-red-green coalition was formed at the state level and, in Bodo Ramelow, a left-wing politician was elected prime minister for the first time. As in all of East Germany, the party ties are not as strong, so that the CDU received the most votes in federal elections in 1990, 1994, 2009 (just ahead of the Left Party), 2013 and 2017 and the SPD in 1998, 2002 and 2005.

    The GDR era and the upheavals after reunification still reverberate politically in the country, for example in the perception of a part of the population being “left behind” or not being sufficiently heard politically. This impression is reinforced by manifest problems in many rural areas, from the aging and migration of the population to the thinning of infrastructures to vacancies and falling property prices. The Thuringia Monitor of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena has been conducting annual surveys since 2000, investigating the socio-political climate in the country and the population's attitudes to questions of values. Even before reunification, there was a small, noisy right-wing extremist scene in the country , which was also violent in the NSU's terrorist cell . Since 2013, a strengthening of right-wing populism can be seen in the state, which also manifested itself in the entry of the alternative for Germany into the state parliament in 2014 and in the federal election result of 22.7% for the AfD in 2017. Its state chairman Björn Höcke is considered to be the head of the so-called wing , the right wing of his party.

    See also: Government crisis in Thuringia 2020

    Public budgets

    The debt level amounted to around 15.8 billion euros or 7,372 euros per inhabitant at the end of 2017, which puts Thuringia in the middle of the national comparison. Future risks for the state budget arise from the expiry of the solidarity pact in 2019 and from declining payments from the EU structural funds due to the comparatively good economic development after 2005. The resulting funding gap has not yet been closed; furthermore, the country will not be able to cover its expenses completely with regular income for the foreseeable future and will therefore be dependent on external financial help. Like all other new federal states, Thuringia has been a recipient state in the state financial equalization system since 1990 and receives around 500 million euros annually from this.

    Many municipalities in Thuringia are over-indebted. Although the nominal debt levels are not as high as in many West German municipalities, on the other hand, tax revenues and thus debt sustainability are also significantly lower. While the two major cities in the country have their debt under control, since 2010, for example, Gera , Eisenach and the Unstrut-Hainich district (where a debtor was appointed) made headlines in view of their poor fiscal situation. In particular, many municipalities and municipal associations in rural areas have hardly any tax revenue, which is why even comparatively low debt levels represent a high burden here, especially in the districts of Nordhausen , Kyffhäuserkreis , Unstrut-Hainich-Kreis and Sömmerda in northern Thuringia. In the south-west, on the other hand , with the Wartburg district and the district of Schmalkalden-Meiningen , there are debt-free districts and some debt-free communities or associations of communities, such as Schleusingen , Floh-Seligenthal and Unterbreizbach .


    In Thuringia, due to its central location far from the coast and the German western and eastern borders, there has only been a below-average number of military bases since the 19th century, although at least the provincial capitals had barracks. The only significant garrison town, however, was Erfurt , part of Prussia , which was a fortress town until 1873 and also had a large number of barracks and military personnel in the 20th century.

    With the rise of the National Socialists, Weimar developed into an important military location . The 1st Panzer Division was set up in Weimar (staff building Jenaer Strasse 2, today Weimar Administrative Court). The military airfield in Nohra also gained in importance. In the south-east of Nordhausen an airfield with attached barracks was built in 1935/36 ; essentially served airbase training purposes.

    After the Second World War , Thuringia, and in particular Weimar and Meiningen, was a focus of the Red Army with tens of thousands of soldiers. In Weimar were armored companies , airborne troops stationed combat helicopter squadrons of the Red Army, in Rudisleben were in the 1970s cruise missiles with nuclear warheads stationed. The GDR border troops stationed helicopter squadron 16 in Nordhausen and Meiningen (until 1990). Thuringia was at the interface of two alliances and was systematically expanded to become a deployment area for the NVA and the Red Army.

    After 1990, in the course of the dissolution of the National People's Army and the withdrawal of the Soviet armed forces in Germany, many barracks were closed, so that today there are only eight Bundeswehr barracks , which, with two exceptions, are concentrated in the northern center of the country on the edge of the Thuringian Basin . In detail, these are the Henne barracks and the Löberfeld barracks in Erfurt, the Kyffhäuser barracks in Bad Frankenhausen , the Karl Günther barracks in Sondershausen , the Görmar barracks in Mühlhausen , the Friedenstein barracks in Gotha , the pioneer barracks in Gera and the Werratal barracks in Bad Salzungen . They provide work for 7,000 soldiers and 700 civilian employees. The only military training area in the Free State is the Ohrdruf military training area . With the Weberstedt military training area , there was a second in the country until 1990. After its dissolution, it was integrated into the Hainich National Park .

    Since January 2013, the Bundeswehr logistics command has been a division-level command in Erfurt. The LogKdo is responsible for the management and control of all logistical forces of the armed forces.

    Country coat of arms and flag

    The current state coat of arms of the Free State of Thuringia was initially regulated in a simple parliamentary law, which was passed by the state parliament on January 30, 1991 and, according to its paragraph 3, came into force retrospectively on October 3, 1990. Later a sentence of this law was taken over literally in the Thuringian constitution . With the law of January 30, the state government was also authorized to regulate further details in an ordinance, and this authorization was exercised on April 11, 1991. Among other things, this regulates who is authorized to use the state coat of arms, the state seal, the official seal and the official shield.

    The Thuringian state coat of arms shows in a glaze-blue shield the red and silver striped four times the same width , gold armored and crowned " Colorful Lions " of the Ludowingers , surrounded by eight silver stars.

    As the oldest colored representation of the " Thuringian primeval coat of arms", the coat of arms of Landgrave Konrad of Thuringia from the 13th century has been preserved. The War of Succession in 1264/65 released Hesse politically independently, which since then has had the "colorful lion" (reverse striped: silver-red) in its coat of arms. When the state of Thuringia merged on May 1, 1920 from the seven republican Thuringian small states, seven silver stars on a revolutionary republican red background were chosen as the national coat of arms, based on the federal stars and stripes of the USA. The National Socialists gave Thuringia a more archaic, eagle coat of arms. With the re-establishment of the state of Thuringia in 1991, the current Thuringian coat of arms was derived from the historical basis. The eighth star stands for the areas of Erfurt, Mühlhausen, Nordhausen, Schmalkalden and Suhl, which were also part of the Free State of Thuringia and were formerly part of Prussia.

    Coat of arms of Thuringia, svg
    State coat of arms
    Flag of Thuringia.svg
    Country flag
    Flag of Thuringia (state) .svg
    State service flag


    Thuringia maintains partnerships with:

    as well as friendly relationships with:

    Administrative division

    The state of Thuringia is divided on two levels. Since the local government reform of July 1, 1994, the 17 rural districts and six independent cities have been on the first level and the 634 municipalities of the state on the second level (since December 31, 2019). In between there are administrative communities (amalgamation of several small communities into a network that takes over the administration) and fulfilling communities (a small community commissions a larger neighboring community to manage it). The level of the administrative districts never existed in Thuringia, as the size of the country does not justify this.

    Since the introduction of this administrative level in Prussia in 1815, the number and layout of the districts and urban districts have been subject to constant changes. These are presented in the article History of the administrative structure of Thuringia .

    The seat of the Thuringian State Administration Office is in Weimar.

    Counties, independent cities and planning regions

    Districts of the Free State of Thuringia
    district County seat Vehicle Planning region Area
    (December 31, 2000)
    (December 31, 2019)
    Altenburger Land Altenburg ABG, SLN East Thuringia 0.569.41 114,200 089,393 157
    Eichsfeld Heilbad Heiligenstadt EIC, HIG, WBS Northern Thuringia 0.943.07 114.109 100.006 106
    Gotha Gotha GTH Central Thuringia 0.936.08 148,527 134.908 144
    Greiz Greiz GRZ, ZR East Thuringia 0.845.97 123,869 097,398 115
    Hildburghausen Hildburghausen HBN Southwest Thuringia 0.938.42 073,839 063.197 067
    Ilm district Arnstadt IK, ARN, IL Central Thuringia 0.805.11 121,806 106,249 132
    Kyffhäuserkreis Sondershausen KYF, ART, SDH Northern Thuringia 1,037.91 094,343 074,212 072
    Nordhausen Nordhausen NDH Northern Thuringia .713.9 098,609 083,416 117
    Saale-Holzland district Eisenberg SHK, EIS, SRO East Thuringia 0.815.24 093,929 082,950 102
    Saale-Orla district Schleiz SOK, LBS, PN, SCZ East Thuringia 1,151.30 098,592 080,312 070
    Saalfeld-Rudolstadt Saalfeld / Saale SLF, RU East Thuringia 1,036.03 132,885 103.199 100
    Schmalkalden-Meiningen Meiningen SM, MGN Southwest Thuringia 1,251.20 143,702 124,916 100
    Sömmerda Sömmerda SÖM Central Thuringia 0.806.86 081.204 069,427 086
    Sonneberg Sonneberg SON, NH Southwest Thuringia 0.433.61 067,833 057,717 133
    Unstrut-Hainich district Mühlhausen / Thuringia UH, LSZ, MHL Northern Thuringia 0.979.69 119.504 102,232 104
    Wartburg district bad Salzungen WAK, SLZ Southwest Thuringia 1,267.26 144,677 118,974 094
    Weimar Country Apolda AP, APD Central Thuringia 0.804.48 091,443 082,156 102
    Weimar Eisenach Suhl Gera Jena Landkreis Altenburger Land Landkreis Greiz Tschechien Saale-Holzland-Kreis Freistaat Sachsen Freistaat Bayern Saale-Orla-Kreis Landkreis Sonneberg Niedersachsen Hessen Sachsen-Anhalt Landkreis Eichsfeld Landkreis Saalfeld-Rudolstadt Landkreis Hildburghausen Landkreis Schmalkalden-Meiningen Ilm-Kreis Landkreis Weimarer Land Erfurt Landkreis Gotha Wartburgkreis Landkreis Sömmerda Kyffhäuserkreis Unstrut-Hainich-Kreis Landkreis Nordhausen
    The districts and independent cities in Thuringia
    One district cities
    • Eisenach (EA / Southwest Thuringia)
    • Erfurt (EF / Central Thuringia)
    • Gera (G / East Thuringia)
    • Jena (J / East Thuringia)
    • Suhl (SHL / Southwest Thuringia)
    • Weimar (WE / Central Thuringia)

    → See also subtitle: Biggest cities

    Planning regions

    Thuringia is divided into four planning regions:

    Biggest cities

    After reunification, all cities in Thuringia quickly lost their inhabitants. Since the turn of the millennium, this development began to differentiate, and this became even more pronounced in the years that followed. The three cities of Erfurt, Weimar and Jena have been able to grow continuously since 2000, reversing the shrinking trend. In a group of other cities, the shrinkage largely subsided and stabilization can be seen there from 2011, with some slight growth, for example in Gotha, Eisenach, Arnstadt and Meiningen. Some other cities, however, continued the slight shrinkage at the same pace, for example Saalfeld or Sondershausen, while in a few cities such as Greiz or Altenburg the pace of population decline increased even further. It has been shown that cities with large educational and research institutions in particular benefit demographically, and to a lesser extent this also applies to cities with a pronounced, export-oriented manufacturing industry such as Eisenach or Arnstadt. The other cities are still affected by a certain degree of emigration (spatial population movement), although the lack of births and the associated aging will become a more serious problem there in the long term (natural population movement). During the refugee crisis, there were large fluctuations in the number of inhabitants in some cities from 2015, which will return to normal from 2018. Based on the 2011 census , only eight cities recorded population growth by 2019.

    In a 2015 forecast published by the Thuringian State Office for Statistics (TLS) for population development from 2015–2035, only five of the 33 cities with more than 10,000 inhabitants can expect growth. These cities are Erfurt (+9.5%), Jena (+3.5%), Eisenach (+0.3%), Meiningen (+1.4%) and Eisenberg (+2.6%), relatively stable The population of Gotha (−0.1%), Arnstadt (−1.0%) and Weimar (−3.8%) also remain.

    Inhabitants of medium-sized and large cities with more than 20,000 inhabitants in the Free State of Thuringia
    city district December 31, 1994
    Territorial status 1994
    December 31, 2000
    Territorial status 2000
    December 31, 2011
    basis based on the 2011 census.
    Territory as of December 31, 2019
    December 31, 2019
    basis based on the 2011 census.
    Territory as of December 31, 2019
    2011-2019 in%
    Erfurt circular 213,472 200,564 201,951 213.981 +5.96
    Jena circular 102.204 099,893 106,428 111,343 +4.62
    Gera circular 126.035 112,835 095,746 093.125 −2.73
    Weimar circular 062,233 062,425 062,886 065,228 +3.72
    Gotha Gotha 052,383 048,376 044,264 045,419 +2.61
    Eisenach circular 046.008 044,442 041,708 042,250 +1.30
    Nordhausen Nordhausen 048,028 045,633 042,423 041,726 −1.64
    Ilmenau Ilm district 028,899 027.176 038,955 038,891 −0.16
    Suhl circular 054,379 048.025 038.905 036,789 −5.44
    Mulhouse Unstrut-Hainich district 040,544 038,695 036,525 036,090 −1.19
    Altenburg Altenburger Land 046.291 041,290 033,671 031,633 −6.05
    Saalfeld Saalfeld-Rudolstadt 032,349 029,511 030,703 029,278 −4.64
    Arnstadt Ilm district 027,571 027,220 026,515 027,314 +3.01
    Rudolstadt Saalfeld-Rudolstadt 029,118 027,528 026.003 024,943 −4.08
    Meiningen Schmalkalden-Meiningen 024.001 022,240 024,616 024,796 +0.73
    Sonneberg Sonneberg 025,880 024,837 024,150 023,516 −2.63
    Apolda Weimar Country 027,857 025,899 022,010 022,184 +0.79
    Sondershausen Kyffhäuserkreis 021,808 023,088 022,395 021,290 −4.93
    Greiz Greiz 030.206 026,177 022,564 020,392 −9.63
    Leinefelde-Worbis Eichsfeld 022.609 022,201 020,396 020,115 −1.38
    bad Salzungen Wartburg district 019,804 017,086 020,917 020.097 −3.92
    • Leinefelde-Worbis was formed in 2004 from two cities and two communities. For the years 1994 and 2000, the population of the four places was added up to give an overview.

    Administrative structural reforms

    On July 1, 1994, the 35 districts in Thuringia that had existed since 1952 were reduced to 17 as part of the district reform . By the same day, the independent cities were enlarged by incorporating surrounding communities. Eisenach was only spun off from the Wartburg district in 1998 and again elevated to the status of an independent city.

    Since the implementation of the district reform in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in 2011, Thuringia has been the eastern German state with the smallest district structure. Even before the state elections in 2009 , the left, the SPD and the Greens spoke out in favor of renewed district reform, while the CDU opposed the project. After the change of government in 2014, the red-red-green state government put the topic back on the agenda, although implementation failed due to fierce resistance from the affected municipalities and the government abandoned the project in December 2017.


    Symbol for East German entrepreneurship - Jentower in Jena
    Schönbrunn spice factory in southern Thuringia

    Historically, the distribution between wealthy and poor areas in Thuringia has changed fundamentally since 1945. Before the Second World War, the poorest areas were in the Thuringian Forest, Thuringian Slate Mountains and also in the rural areas of southern Thuringia. The most developed areas included the industrialized East Thuringia around Gera and the areas bordering on Saxony, which benefited from the cities of Zwickau, Leipzig and Chemnitz. Cities in which the public service was concentrated, such as Meiningen or Weimar, were also relatively wealthy. Today, however, the most economically powerful regions can be found along the Thuringian chain of cities from Eisenach to Hermsdorfer Kreuz, and the Erfurt-Weimar-Jena area in particular shows high economic growth. The positive economic development in this region in particular began as early as the 19th century, at that time still including the city of Gera. Eichsfeld, the cities of Nordhausen and Eisenach as well as the south-west Thuringian districts now have a comparatively favorable economic structure, while Nordhausen and Eisenach are two other cities with industrial roots that go back a long way. However, development problems are still evident in the northern Thuringian Basin (Kyffhäuserkreis, Unstrut-Hainich-Kreis and parts of the Nordhausen and Sömmerda districts) and contrary to the historical "normality" in East Thuringia (city of Gera, Altenburger Land and parts of the Greiz district).

    The social market economy has with the economic, monetary and social union and the accession to the Federal Republic in 1990 the socialist command economy succeeded in Thuringia. This far-reaching restructuring process triggered crises in various industries and led to high unemployment rates. Two thirds of the old jobs in Thuringia fell victim to the economic turnaround between 1989 and 1995. In the meantime, some industries such as scientific device construction, microelectronics and medical technology have achieved growth.

    In 2016, the economic output in the state of Thuringia, measured in terms of gross domestic product (GDP), was almost 61 billion euros, which corresponds to 1.9 percent of the total German GDP or around 58,000 euros per employed person. In comparison with the GDP of the EU , expressed in purchasing power standards , Thuringia achieved a value of 88 percent in 2015 (EU-28: 100, Germany: 124).

    In 2015 there were 126 income millionaires in Thuringia . Most of the income millionaires lived in Erfurt, Jena and the Saalfeld-Rudolstadt district.

    labour market

    Vacant industrial properties, here Pößneck 2006, are a legacy of the transformation

    Since the low point of the transformation crisis after reunification around 2005 (see unemployment in May 2004: 16.6 percent), the Thuringian economy has been on the upswing and unemployment has been falling (June 2019: 5.1 percent). There are large differences across the country in terms of the unemployment rate. For a long time, the lowest rate was recorded in the Sonneberg district in southern Thuringia, followed by the neighboring Hildburghausen district (3.2% in June 2019). The Unstrut-Hainich district and Kyffhäuserkreis in the northern Thuringian Basin as well as the city of Gera and the Altenburger Land in eastern Thuringia have had the highest rates for the number of unemployed for many years (in June 2019 the rates in the areas mentioned were between 6.6% and 8%). Economists do not expect a significant increase in the quotas in the long term and justify this with demographic change .

    On the other hand, the average hourly wage of 13.83 euros in 2014 was well below the national average of 16.97 euros. The comparatively low wages prompt well-educated young people to emigrate to the west. The labor potential of Thuringia is therefore strongly declining. According to the results of the 2011 census, around 502,000 people in the state will leave the labor market for reasons of age by 2026 (age group of then 50 to 64 year olds), while only around 236,000 will move up (age group of then 3 to 18 year olds), which - one ignores migration effects - a gap of around 266,000 employable people emerges, which many times exceeds the number of unemployed. In the coming years, attracting immigrants in competition with other regions will be a major challenge for the Thuringian economy, with continued emigration exacerbating the problem.

    Most important locations of employment subject to social insurance in the Free State of Thuringia
    workplace social insurance
    June 30, 2019
    Change since
    June 30, 2013
    in percent
    Commuter balance
    June 30, 2019
    Erfurt 108,960 0+7.40 +23,454 793
    Jena 057,455 +11.40 +15,070 790
    Gera 036,721 0+1.87 0+2,055 663
    Weimar 024,383 0+4.54 00.+593 574
    Eisenach 022,812 0+2.59 0+5,437 879
    Nordhausen 021,713 0+1.46 0+5,943 850
    Gotha 019,856 0+5.18 0+1,744 703
    Mulhouse 017,617 +12.20 0+3,881 889
    Suhl 015,947 0+2.31 0+2,033 797
    Saalfeld 014,539 +16.14 0+2,270 886
    Thuringia as a whole 804.770 0+3.98 −55,543 610
    1Jobs subject to social security contributions per 1000 inhabitants between the ages of 15 and 65; Figures as of December 31, 2018 according to TLS.

    Foreign trade

    Foreign trade partner of Thuringia 2008

    As far back as the Middle Ages, woad, an important European commodity, was grown and exported in Thuringia. This helped cities like Erfurt to become extremely wealthy. At the beginning of the 20th century, industrial companies emerged in Thuringia, mainly producing for export. These included, for example, Jena's optical industry, technical glass production, glass and porcelain for households (e.g. Christmas tree decorations from Lauscha ), but also the toy industry in the Thuringian Forest, whose products were exported to the United States by Woolworth from Sonneberg in the 1920s were. After the Second World War, trade took place mainly with the states of the Council for Mutual Economic Aid.

    The collapse of this market in 1990 contributed significantly to the collapse of the entire industry after reunification. Exports reached a low point in 1992 with the equivalent of 1.2 billion euros. This was followed by an increase to 4.5 billion in 2000, 10.8 billion in 2010 and 13.5 billion in 2015. The most important export partners in 2015 were Hungary , the USA and France . Around two thirds of exports go to the European Union . Imports rose from € 0.6 billion in 1991 to € 3.8 billion in 2000 and € 6.8 billion in 2010 to € 9.3 billion in 2015. China has been the number one import since 2004, followed by the United Kingdom and Italy .

    Agriculture and Forestry

    Agriculture in Thuringia is characterized by large farms that have their roots in the LPGs founded in GDR times . This means that the fields are quite large and can be managed efficiently. Meat production is also dominated by large companies. Many areas are very fertile, such as the Thuringian Basin in the northern center of the country, the Grabfeld in the south and Orlasenke and Altenburger Land in the east. The associated problems in these areas are the ecological species poverty of the large-scale "tidy" corridors and the high nitrate pollution of the waters. Pasture farming dominates in the higher elevations and areas with poor soil quality, for example in the hilly landscapes between the basins and the mountains.

    In the Thuringian Basin, mainly arable farming is practiced
    Plant production

    A total of 22,700 people worked in agriculture in 2016, which has been falling for decades. The agricultural area in 2016 was 7790 square kilometers, which corresponds to 48.2% of the country's area, the share of organic farming being 4.7%. The share of the agricultural area in the Federal Republic of Germany was around five percent. Mainly silage maize , winter wheat , winter barley , sugar beet and winter rape are grown . The main cultivation area is divided into the four districts of Kyffhäuserkreis , Unstrut-Hainich-Kreis , Sömmerda and Wartburgkreis . The main fruit-growing areas with permanent crops are the district of Gotha (Fahnersche Heights), the Kyffhäuserkreis and the district of Sömmerda. Vegetables are dominated by white cabbage , cauliflower , onions , tomatoes , cucumbers , beans and asparagus . The center of viticulture is the town of Bad Sulza , which belongs to the Saale-Unstrut wine-growing region . The vineyards are located on the sunny dry limestone slopes of the Ilm and Saale valleys on the border with Saxony-Anhalt between Weimar, Jena and Naumburg.

    Animal production

    In 2016, 1,574,000 laying hens , 740,000 pigs , 330,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep were counted. While the number of hens, pigs and cattle is only declining slightly, the number of sheep fell from 220,000 in 2005 to just over half a decade later. The center of meat production is East Thuringia.


    The 515,262 hectares of forest area in Thuringia (2009) are mainly divided into the forms of ownership private forest , state forest and communal forest . There is also a church forest. Private forest owners have often joined forces to form forest operating groups. Foliage cooperatives appear as a special form of ownership in the plenter forests in the Hainich-Dün-Hainleite natural area. The forest management is currently carried out by the 24 forest offices of the state forest administration, which are organized in the state forest institute " ThüringenForst ", an institution under public law (AöR).


    Mining has been practiced in Thuringia since the Middle Ages, especially in mountains such as the Thuringian Forest, the Harz and the Thuringian Slate Mountains. With Schmalkalden , Suhl and Ilmenau there were important mining towns in the Thuringian Forest. Various ores such as iron, manganese, copper and silver were mined. Gold deposits were also mined in the Thuringian Slate Mountains, as indicated by place names such as Goldisthal or Reichmannsdorf . The most important of these mining sites was the Schmalkalden region with its iron industry, which only perished with industrialization in the 19th century. At the same time, the Maxhütte Unterwellenborn near Saalfeld was built, which was also supplied with regional iron deposits. It still exists today as the Thuringia steelworks .

    In the 20th century, potash mining developed into the most important mining branch. Thuringia has two areas: on the one hand the Werra area between Bad Salzungen and Bad Hersfeld , which is still in use today, and on the other hand the northern Thuringia area, which was closed after 1990, with the production sites Roßleben , Sondershausen , Bleicherode and Bischofferode . During the Cold War , a large part of the uranium required by the Soviet Union was mined near Ronneburg . This was accompanied by massive environmental damage and numerous illnesses suffered by miners who came into contact with the carcinogenic material.

    In the 19th century, open-cast lignite mining began in the Meuselwitzer district in eastern Thuringia , which, in addition to generating energy, also served the Leuna works as a raw material for the chemical industry. The brown coal deposits were exhausted towards the end of the 20th century. There were also isolated hard coal deposits in the Thuringian Forest, but with industrialization it was no longer worthwhile to mine them. Hard coal was mined in the Stockheim district near Sonneberg on the border with Bavaria for a long time . The slate mining in the Thuringian Slate Mountains, which is still in operation today, is also significant. Its center is the city of Lehesten with the largest slate quarries in the country. In Gehren in the Thuringian Forest there is a mine for the extraction of heavy spar .


    The Thuringian industry is characterized by small company sizes and a wide spread in the area, especially in the west and south of the country. The main products come from metal, plastic and wood processing, while many traditional branches of industry such as the glass, porcelain, toy and textile industries fell victim to the structural change of the 20th century to a large extent. Industrial centers are located in the Eisenach (vehicle construction) and Jena (optics) regions, and Daimler also operates a large engine plant in Kölleda . Other large industrial companies have settled in the area around the Erfurt Cross , partly in the city itself. The food industry also plays an important role in some regions and ranks second behind the automotive industry nationwide.

    Among the listed companies in Thuringia include in the Prime Standard Carl Zeiss Meditec and Jenoptik in Jena and ADVA Meiningen, in the m: access the Funkwerk Kölleda and further X-FAB from Erfurt. Once listed in the NASDAQ Intershop from Jena and in the SDAX Geratherm from Geschwenda .

    A total of around 171,000 people (2016) work in Thuringian industry in companies with more than 20 employees and generate an annual turnover of 34 billion euros (2016). In 2010 there were 157,000 people and 29 billion in sales. Cities with the most industrial jobs in 2016 were Jena (7985), Eisenach (6606), Erfurt (6208), Nordhausen (4653), Arnstadt (3767), Gotha (3705) and Gera (3568).

    During the GDR era, the Erfurt Microelectronics Combine with 56,000 employees (1990) and the Carl Zeiss Jena Combine with 54,000 employees (1990) were the largest employers in Thuringia. In 1990 there were another 22 combines , each with 2,000 to 30,000 employees, which were based in what is now the state of Thuringia.

    Services, trade and tourism

    The service sector is the largest economic sector in Thuringia. It is characterized by low wages, with many employees benefiting from the introduction of the minimum wage in 2015. High-quality industrial and economic services are underrepresented as there are no corporate headquarters or major cities in the country. The logistics industry, on the other hand, is more strongly represented, benefiting from the low wages and central location in Germany and Europe. This is how, also due to the booming online trade, numerous logistics centers have been created since 2000, especially on Erfurter Ring and along the federal highway 4 . The trades and the construction industry also benefit from the central location and the lively construction activity in the neighboring states of Hesse and Bavaria, where many orders in these areas are carried out by Thuringian companies.

    The retail sector has its most important center in Erfurt, which has one of the top positions in Germany in terms of retail space per inhabitant. The concentration on a few large centers has increased significantly since 2000, so that small and medium-sized cities have to contend with, in some cases, considerable vacancies in this area.

    Tourism is another important branch of the economy, which comprises the three areas of city tourism, countryside tourism and health tourism (sometimes overlapping). City tourism with the centers of Erfurt, Weimar and Eisenach is experiencing dynamic growth, while landscape tourism along the Rennsteig in the Thuringian Forest and Slate Mountains is in an ongoing modernization process for the attractiveness and further development of the offers in competition with neighboring holiday regions in the low mountain range. A total of around 9.2 million overnight stays were booked in 2016, compared to 8.3 million ten years earlier. Around 6% of the bookings were made by foreign guests.

    Education and Research

    TU Ilmenau (old technical center)
    Roßleben monastery school (1905)
    Duchess Anna Amalia Library Weimar
    Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena


    The school system in Thuringia was restructured from 1990 onwards based on the models of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg; There have been no more comprehensive system reforms since then. After four years of primary school followed as secondary schools both for primary and for secondary school certificate leading mainstream school or the school where after eight years of the high school can be stored. After the rampage in Erfurt , the special performance assessment was introduced at the end of class 10 at the Thuringian grammar schools , an examination in German , mathematics , English and a natural science , which brings all existing students a secondary school certificate (intermediate maturity). On the one hand, Thuringian students often achieve top places in nationwide comparative studies, on the other hand, the proportion of school dropouts is also well above the national average.

    The number of pupils in Thuringia fell sharply between 1998 and 2006 (at general schools from approx. 330,000 to approx. 190,000) and has remained stable since then. In addition to 800 state schools, there were around 100 independent schools in 2016. The upheaval in vocational schools took place between 2006 and 2013, when the number of students fell from 90,000 to 50,000. This was associated with numerous school closings, especially in rural areas and under protests from the families and communities concerned.

    During the GDR era, several special schools were established in Thuringia to promote highly talented students in certain subject areas, which continue to exist today. These include the music high schools Schloss Belvedere in Weimar and Goethe-Gymnasium / Rutheneum in Gera, the sports high schools Pierre de Coubertin in Erfurt , Johann Christoph Friedrich GutsMuths in Jena and the sports high school for winter sports in Oberhof , the natural science schools in Erfurt ( Albert-Schweitzer- Gymnasium ), Ilmenau ( Goetheschule ) and Jena ( Carl-Zeiss-Gymnasium ) and the Sprachgymnasium Salzmannschule Schnepfenthal near Waltershausen . The boarding schools Hermann-Lietz-Schule Haubinda (founded 1901) and Klosterschule Roßleben (founded 1544) are among the special schools in the state. The Thüringenkolleg in Weimar and the Ilmenau-Kolleg in Ilmenau lead on the second educational path to the Abitur . Important pedagogues with a focus on the state were among others Friedrich Fröbel , the "inventor" of the kindergarten, Johann Christoph Friedrich GutsMuths, who founded physical education in schools, Christian Gotthilf Salzmann , founder of the Salzmannschule in Schnepfenthal, Hermann Lietz , founder of the Hermann-Lietz- Schools , and Peter Petersen , who came up with the concept of the Jena Plan Schools .


    The only comprehensive university is the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, founded in 1558 with ten faculties, which is also the oldest continuously existing university in Thuringia. With the Bauhaus University in Weimar with a focus on architecture, civil engineering, design and media, the Technical University of Ilmenau and the University of Erfurt with a humanities profile, which was re-established after the fall of the Wall , there are three other universities. The state's four technical colleges are located in Nordhausen , Erfurt , Jena and Schmalkalden . In Weimar there is also the Franz Liszt University of Music . Further educational institutions are the Dual University Gera-Eisenach , the Thuringian University of Applied Sciences for Public Administration in Gotha and Meiningen, the private SRH University for Health Gera , the private IUBH International University in Erfurt and the Erfurt seminary . Tuition fees are not levied at state universities in Thuringia.

    The number of students in Thuringia rose sharply in the 1990s and peaked at 54,000 in 2011. Since then, they have fallen slightly again and are around 50,000, which can be found in Jena (approx. 22,000), Erfurt (approx. 10,000), Ilmenau (approx. 6000) and Weimar (approx. 5000) as well as the smaller universities in Schmalkalden, Distribute Nordhausen, Gera, Eisenach, Gotha and Meiningen. In 2016, only 35% of the students had also obtained their Abitur in Thuringia, compared to 58% ten years earlier. In 2016, 12% of the students came from abroad, 8.5% from Bavaria, 7.4% from Saxony and 6.0% from North Rhine-Westphalia.

    Research institutions

    Important research institutes in Thuringia are the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology in Ilmenau, the Fraunhofer Application Center for System Technology in Ilmenau, the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Mechanics in Jena, the Helmholtz Institute Jena in Jena, and the Leibniz Institute for Aging Research in Jena, the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology in Jena, the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, the Max Planck Institute for Economics in Jena, the Institute for Vegetable and Ornamental Plant Production in Erfurt, the Leibniz Institute for Photonic Technologies in Jena, the Institute for Bacterial Infections and Zoonoses in Jena and the Institute for Molecular Pathogenesis in Jena. The oldest still existing planetarium in the world, the Jena Planetarium , is one of the most important scientific institutions in the country.

    Important libraries in the state are the Thuringian University and State Library , located in Jena since 1549 (previously in Wittenberg and Weimar) and the Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar, founded in 1691 . The University and Research Library Erfurt / Gotha was founded in 1647 by Ernst the Pious in Gotha and is also one of the most important libraries in the country. The academy of non-profit science was founded in Erfurt in 1754 and is the third oldest scholarly circle of its kind in Germany. The most important archives in Thuringia are the Goethe and Schiller archives in Weimar, the main state archive in Weimar and the subordinate state archives in Altenburg, Gotha , Greiz, Meiningen and Rudolstadt.


    Due to its central location in reunified Germany and the need to catch up as a result of the GDR era, considerable efforts have been made in Thuringia to expand the infrastructure since 1990.


    BAB 4 and Thuringian trunk line, main traffic axes in east-west direction

    Thuringia is located on the important transport routes from Berlin to southern and southwestern Germany, which were expanded and rebuilt between 1990 and 2017 as part of the German Unity transport projects. Due to its location in the low mountain range, Thuringia is the only federal state to have no waterways , i.e. no navigable rivers or canals. Shipping is only operated on the Hohenwarte reservoir and the Bleilochtalsperre . With the exception of the ferry from Altenbeuthen to Linkenmühle, it serves tourist traffic.

    Road traffic

    In 2017, Thuringia had 521 kilometers of motorways, 1512 kilometers of federal highways, 4220 kilometers of state roads and 3309 kilometers of district roads. This means that the motorway network has doubled since 1997, while a good 400 kilometers of federal highways and on balance almost 1500 kilometers of state roads were downgraded. The most important road axes in Thuringia are the federal highway 4 in the east-west direction and the federal highway 9 in the north-south direction. Both have been expanded to six lanes over their entire length; The A 4 from the 1930s was also re-routed in the Eisenach and Jena areas. The motorway network is supplemented by the federal motorway 38 in the north, which connects Leipzig with Göttingen and Kassel ; the federal motorway 71 runs in a north-east-south-west direction across the country and has also been completed in 2015. It connects Erfurt with the Würzburg area in the south and the Halle area in the north. The federal highway 73 starts in Suhl south of the crossing of the Thuringian Forest of the A 71 and leads south to Nuremberg . At the Hessian border, the federal motorway 44 is to lead from Eisenach to Kassel from 2022 . The federal autobahn 72 runs along the Saxon border, which partly connects the districts of Greiz and Altenburger Land. The distance to the next motorway connection in the state is a maximum of around 40 kilometers, this concerns the areas in the slate mountains around Probstzella , in the Rhön around Dermbach and in the northern Thuringian basin around Schlotheim , while among the larger cities only Mühlhausen, Saalfeld / Rudolstadt and Altenburg without a motorway connection are.

    The federal road network was and is also being expanded in part. The most important projects here are the expansion of the B 247 / B 176 in the northwest from Leinefelde via Mühlhausen and Bad Langensalza to Erfurt to connect the Unstrut-Hainich district to the trunk road network, and the new construction of the B 90 to the A 71 to connect Saalfeld and Rudolstadt , the expansion of the B 88 to A 4 and the B 281 to A 9. Other important federal roads are the B 19 from Eisenach to Meiningen and the B 62 in the west of the country, the B 243 as a connection from Nordhausen in the direction of Hanover and the federal roads 7 and 93 to connect Altenburg in the east of the country. Nevertheless, most of the federal highways are still characterized by numerous through-roads and crossings and follow the course of the roads of the 19th century.

    The busiest section of the motorway in 2015 was the A 9 north of the Hermsdorfer Kreuz with around 65,000 vehicles per day, the least traffic was on the A 71 between Artern and Heldrungen with less than 9,000 vehicles. In the federal road network, the eastern Erfurt Ring (B 7) was the most heavily used, with more than 25,000 vehicles in sections, while the B 90 between Leutenberg and Wurzbach sometimes had a traffic volume of less than 1000 vehicles a day. Despite the declining population, the number of motor vehicles has continued to increase in recent years, while traffic density has remained constant and the number of accidents has decreased. The number of road fatalities in 2016 even halved compared to 2006.

    Rail transport
    Erfurt main station

    The railway reached Thuringia in 1842 with the Leipzig – Hof railway via Altenburg as the first connection from Berlin to Munich. The state capital Erfurt received a railway connection on the line from Berlin to Frankfurt am Main in 1846. Today two ICE routes cross in Erfurt main station : Berlin – Munich and Frankfurt – Dresden. The new Erfurt – Leipzig / Halle line , opened in 2015, serves as a connection to Berlin and Dresden, the Nuremberg – Erfurt high-speed line to Munich , which went into operation in 2017, and the existing Erfurt – Bebra line to Frankfurt , which has been upgraded to speeds of 200 km / h in sections. Further long-distance traffic stops with regular regular connections are Eisenach and Gotha on the route to Frankfurt. Freight traffic plays only a relatively minor role, as there are neither port-hinterland traffic nor large companies with a significant volume of their own and is essentially limited to the east-west connections Halle – Kassel with around 40 and Naumburg – Bebra with around 50 trains daily as well as the north-south connections Naumburg – Bamberg with 60 and Leipzig – Werdau with 35 freight trains per day (both directions together). The most important freight transhipment point is the freight traffic center in Vieselbach east of Erfurt.

    In contrast, the condition of the regional routes is very different; since 1945 around 1000 kilometers of railway lines have been shut down, so that around 1500 kilometers remain in operation. Only a small part of this is electrified (the lowest proportion of all federal states) and / or has two tracks. The transport is therefore essentially played with diesel railcars, next to the DB Regio Southeast also provide Abellio Rail Central Germany , the Vogtlandbahn , the Erfurt railway , the South Thuringia Railway and the Cantus transport services. The responsible authority is the Nahverkehrsservicegesellschaft Thuringia and the transport associations are the Mitteldeutsche Verkehrsverbund for the Altenburger Land district, which is integrated into the Central German S-Bahn, and the Mittelthüringen transport association , which is to be expanded to the entire state, but has not been expanded since 2010. The most important construction project in the railway network is the expansion of the Weimar – Gera railway line , which connects the four largest cities in the country, but is still not electrified and is partly single-track. The same applies to the Gotha – Leinefelde railway line , which is also to be expanded. Overall, the number of passengers in local public transport is falling slightly, especially in bus transport and in rural areas. Here the offer is often patchy or limited to school bus services, while the tram networks in the big cities have been expanded and passenger numbers are increasing, as are the regional trains between the larger cities. The Oberweißbacher Bergbahn and the Harzquerbahn of the Harz Narrow Gauge Railways serve primarily for tourist traffic .

    Air traffic
    Overview of the airfields in the Free State of Thuringia

    The only airport with scheduled flights is Erfurt-Weimar Airport , which, like most regional airports, is deficient and depends on subsidies from the state government. The development of traffic at the airport, which was expanded in the 1990s, lagged far behind the forecasts, also because Frankfurt , Leipzig , Nuremberg and Hanover are four airports with a wide range of services in the vicinity and can be easily reached by car and train. Between 2003 and 2010 there were also scheduled flights at Altenburg Airport . Other airfields in the country are used for private aviation.

    Water supply, energy and telecommunications

    The Leibis-Lichte Dam, which opened in 2006, is the latest, larger new construction

    For drinking water supply some major dams in the Thuringian Forest and Slate Mountains were created, these include the Leibis-light , the dam Schönbrunn , the dam narrow water and the Ohra dam . They supply substantial parts of the country. Numerous small dams and reservoirs in the lowlands are used to obtain industrial water for agriculture, where periods of drought can sometimes occur due to low rainfall. Nonetheless, the water demand is declining, so that the demolition of some smaller dams has started.

    Hydropower has also been used for a long time to generate electricity, including the Saale Cascade dam system , which also includes Germany's largest reservoir, the Bleilochtalsperre . With the Goldisthal pumped storage plant , the largest system of its kind in Germany was put into operation in 2003. Nonetheless, Thuringia has always been a net importer of electricity; in the 20th century, it was mainly the lignite power stations in the Central German District that supplied the electricity required in the country. In 2011, around 60% of the electricity requirement of 12.2 TWh was covered by imports from other regions. Nevertheless, the import quota used to be significantly higher and is falling from year to year. In 2016, 9.3 TWh of electricity were produced in the country itself, minus the pumped storage power plants it was 7.4 TWh, of which 28% from wind power, 28% from natural gas, 14.5% from photovoltaics, 12.7% from biomass and 12, 1% came from biogas, the rest from other energy sources. The power from wind increased eightfold between 2000 and 2016, and photovoltaics sevenfold.

    The Free State is part of the 50Hertz Transmission transmission network area . A greater part of the power supply was 2013 by repurchase of the until then to E. belonging TEAG Thüringer energy rekommunalisiert. Thüringer Energie operates its largest power plant with the Jena combined heat and power plant (197 MW); the Erfurt-Ost power plant is another larger power plant in the center of the state (80 MW). The country's largest wind farm is located near Wangenheim between Gotha and Bad Langensalza with a capacity of 130 MW and 66 turbines.

    In the telecommunications sector, broadband expansion is a priority, for which the state has set up the broadband competence center. In 2017, 51% of households had a connection of at least 100 Mbit / s, mainly in cities, 78.5% had at least 50 Mbit / s and 84% had at least 30 Mbit / s. As a result, 16% of households do not yet have the option of using high-speed internet, which was particularly true of smaller districts in rural areas.


    In 2016, there were a total of 44 hospitals in Thuringia with almost 16,000 hospital beds and an occupancy rate of 77.5%. This corresponds to 733 beds per 100,000 inhabitants. 38% of the beds are owned by public law, 18% by non-profit and 34% by private law. Approximately 580,000 cases are treated each year. Around 5,000 full-time doctors and 25,000 non-medical staff are employed in the hospitals. A total of around 9,300 doctors and a good 2,000 dentists worked in the country in 2016. In the same year there were 553 pharmacies. Some rural regions have an undersupply of general practitioners as well as specialists in certain disciplines, furthermore the medical profession is outdated and it is difficult to find successors, although the state government is trying to counteract this with funding. A not inconsiderable number of the newly hired clinic doctors come from Eastern Europe, especially from Poland, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, where these doctors are in turn lacking to care for the local population.

    The only university with a medical degree in the state is the Friedrich Schiller University Jena , whose university clinic is the largest hospital in the state. In addition to the Erfurt Clinic as the second largest hospital, the Bad Berka Central Clinic , the Wald Clinic Gera , the Meiningen Clinic , the Südharz Clinic Nordhausen , the Thuringia clinics "Georgius Agricola" in Saalfeld and the Central Clinic Suhl also have a supraregional supply contract according to the Thuringian Hospital Plan 2017 as the country's medical centers.

    The average life expectancy in the period 2015/17 was 77.2 years for men and 83.0 years for women. The men are ranked 13th among the German federal states, while women are ranked 9th. Regionally, in 2013/15 Jena (expectation of the total population: 81.95 years), Saale-Holzland-Kreis (81.44) and Eichsfeld (81.27) had the highest, as well as Sömmerda (78.80), Sonneberg (78.76 ) and the Kyffhäuserkreis (78,16) have the lowest life expectancy.


    The regional daily newspaper market is dominated by two media companies. The to Funke Mediengruppe owned media group Thuringia are the newspapers Thüringer Allgemeine from Erfurt (with 14 local offices in central and northern Thuringia), Ostthüringer newspaper from Gera (with 13 local offices in eastern Thuringia) and Thuringian newspaper from Weimar (with 9 local offices in central and northern Thuringia ) out. Its circulation in 2017 was 239,000 copies, which has halved it in the past 20 years. The regional newspaper group Hof / Coburg / Suhl belongs to the Süddeutscher Verlag and publishes the Freie Wort from Suhl (with seven local editorial offices in Southwest Thuringia) and the Südthüringer Zeitung from Bad Salzungen (with the editions Bad Salzungen and Schmalkalden). The group receives its jacket part from the Stuttgarter Nachrichten . Its circulation was around 57,700 copies at the end of 2019, which has also halved over 20 years. Meininger Mediengesellschaft (MMG), in which Suhler Verlagsgesellschaft (SVG) and Mediengruppe Oberfranken each have a 50% stake, publishes Meininger Tageblatt (MT), which editorially cooperates with Freie Wort. A local edition of the Leipziger Volkszeitung of the publishing company Madsack appears in Altenburg . This means that there is journalistic competition only in Altenburg (where the Ostthüringer Zeitung also appears) and Ilmenau (Thuringian General and Free Word), while the rest of the country belongs to the single- newspaper circles .

    Public broadcasting is produced in Thuringia by Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR). The MDR operates the Landesfunkhaus Thuringia in Gothaer Strasse in Erfurt. There also are KiKA , the children's channel of ARD and ZDF , the MDR-advertising as well as MDR-production subsidiary MCS Thuringia housed. The MDR Thuringia Journal , the daily television news program for Thuringia, is produced in the Erfurt Funkhaus . In addition, MDR broadcasts a radio program specially produced for the state with MDR Thuringia . In the immediate vicinity is the KinderMedienZentrum , where, among other things , the KiKA series Schloss Einstein is produced. The ZDF operates its regional studio Thuringia in Erfurt, which supplies its programs and magazines with reports from the region.

    In Thuringia , private radio broadcasts the nationwide radios Landeswelle Thüringen , Antenne Thüringen and their subsidiary Radio Top 40 . There are local television stations in some places. The Thuringian State Media Authority has also set up eleven community radio projects. With the largest distribution areas, these are the two open channels directly supported by the TLM, the open television channel in Gera and Radio Funkwerk in Erfurt and Weimar. In addition, there are open channels sponsored by associations in Jena of the OK-J, Saalfeld of the SRB , Eisenach the Wartburg-Radio 96.5 , Nordhausen and Leinefelde . In some cities, the TLM has also licensed non-commercial local and university radio stations. These include Radio FREI in Erfurt, Radio Lotte Weimar , radio hsf in Ilmenau, the student radio of the Bauhaus University Weimar . In most of the open channels, the media education projects, including PiXEL-Fernsehen and RABATZ, are located. Here children and young people can make radio and television themselves.

    The national commission for youth media protection has been based in Erfurt since it was founded in 2003.


    The cultural landscape of Thuringia is very diverse due to the long political fragmentation (until 1920). This diversity has been preserved to this day and is expressed in the various former residences in the country with their historically grown museums and theaters. Parallel to the diversity of the parts of the country, however, the similar cuisine as well as similar festivals and customs are connected. The numerous sites of classical high culture from the Reformation to the Bauhaus, behind which the sites of contemporary culture fall back a little, are still characteristic of the culture.

    The Bauhaus sites in Weimar have been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Thuringia since 1996 with the main building of the Bauhaus University built between 1904 and 1911 according to plans by Henry van de Velde , the Weimar School of Applied Arts and the model house on the Horn , since 1998 the eleven sites of the classical Weimar ( Goethe's house , Schiller's house , Herder Church and Herder-sites, Schloss Weimar , Wittumspalais , Duchess Anna Amalia library , Park on the Ilm with Goethe's garden house and a Roman house , Belvedere Palace , Ettersburg Palace , Castle Tiefurt , Historical cemetery, Weimar ) since 1999 the Wartburg near Eisenach and since 2011 the Hainich National Park as part of the European primeval beech forests .


    Bauhaus Museum in Weimar

    The museum landscape of Thuringia has its focus in Weimar with its classical poets, musicians and artists. But there are also important museums in some other cities in the country. In addition, the respective state museums, which focus on regional history, are located in the old royal palaces.

    The Weimar World Heritage Site includes the Goethe National Museum , which unites the poet's places of work in the city, as well as Schiller's home and a variety of other culturally used facilities. The Bauhaus Museum in downtown Weimar is also important . The second former Ernestine main residence in Gotha also has a house of national importance with the Ducal Museum, which was reopened in 2013 . The Lindenau Museum in Altenburg houses the largest collection of early Italian panel paintings north of the Alps. Along with the Wartburg and the Klassik Stiftung Weimar, it is one of the 20 “cultural lighthouses” in the blue book of the federal government in the new federal states.

    The Panorama Museum near Bad Frankenhausen , opened in 1989, houses the Peasant War Panorama to commemorate the German Peasant War and the peasant leader Thomas Müntzer . With an area of ​​1722 m², it is one of the largest panel paintings in the world. The German Toy Museum in Sonneberg was opened in 1901 and is the oldest and one of the largest toy museums in Germany. The German Horticultural Museum in Erfurt is equally important in the field of landscape architecture. On 1500 square meters, it shows historical and biological aspects of horticulture in Central Europe. The Optical Museum in Jena describes the history and progress of technology in the field of optics and is also of national importance in this area. In addition to the Wartburg, Eisenach also has the Luther House , in which Luther lived during his school days in Eisenach, and the Bach House , which is dedicated to the composer Johann Sebastian Bach , who was (probably) born there .

    Memorials for the victims of war and dictatorship in the 20th century are located in Buchenwald near Weimar, in Mittelbau-Dora near Nordhausen, in the Topf & Sons memorial site in Erfurt and in the Stasi prison at Andreasstrasse in Erfurt.


    German National Theater in Weimar

    The theatrical landscape in Thuringia is - due to the small states - also diverse today. The most important theaters in the country are the German National Theater in Weimar and the Meiningen State Theater . Traditional theaters are still operated in Eisenach , Gera and Altenburg . The Erfurt Theater and the Vogtlandhalle Greiz are recent new buildings . Other theaters are in Arnstadt, Nordhausen and Rudolstadt. Many theaters also have their own orchestra. The largest open-air stage is the Steinbach-Langenbach nature theater in the Thuringian Forest. Since all theaters are subsidized by the Free State, the financing of this cultural offer is a difficult task. In recent years, the theaters have already had to accept major budget cuts by the state government.

    With the Ekhof-Theater from 1681 in Gotha, the oldest preserved theater in Germany is located in the state as well as the Stadttheater Hildburghausen from 1755 as the oldest preserved city theater, where the first drama school in Germany was founded in 1765.

    Alone in the Thuringian Theater Association e. V. 28 professional and amateur theaters have been organized so far.

    Music, literature and fine arts

    Around 1200 Thuringia experienced a heyday of the minstrel and the song poetry . The collection of poems about the fictional war of singers at the Wartburg is an important testimony to this. According to legend, the most important minstrels of the time competed there.

    Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)

    The Bach family with their most famous son, Johann Sebastian Bach , comes from Wechmar near Gotha. Many members of this family became musicians and shaped court and church music in Thuringia between the 16th and 18th centuries. After the Bach family, musicians like Franz Liszt came to Thuringia in the 19th century in Weimar's “Silver Age” . They appreciated the liberal and historic atmosphere of the Goethe city. Through Liszt and his group of students, Weimar became one of the centers of modern music at the time. In 1872, Carl Müllerhartung founded the first German orchestral school here, the forerunner of what is now the Liszt School of Music in Weimar . The music educators working there also included the most important composers of the 20th century who lived permanently in Thuringia, Richard Wetz and Johann Cilenšek . In the second half of the 19th century, the Meiningen court orchestra gained the reputation of an outstanding orchestra, which, especially since Hans von Bülow had taken over the leadership in 1880, attracted more capable musicians who made a significant contribution to the development of a musical heyday. This tradition was continued until 1914 under the conductors Richard Strauss , Fritz Steinbach , Wilhelm Berger and Max Reger .

    Important orchestras in the state are the Staatskapelle Weimar , the Erfurt Philharmonic Orchestra , the Thuringia Philharmonic Gotha-Eisenach , the Thuringian Symphony Orchestra Saalfeld-Rudolstadt , the Jena Philharmonic , the Loh Orchestra Sondershausen and the Vogtland Philharmonic Greiz / Reichenbach . In the field of historical performance practice , the Ensemble Cantus Thuringia & Capella Thuringia has earned an international reputation in recent years. The Thuringian Bach Weeks are a nationwide music festival in honor of Johann Sebastian Bach. Folk music in Thuringia was primarily dedicated to Herbert Roth , the composer of the Rennsteig song. It is considered a "secret" national anthem and is better known than the (unofficial) anthem Thuringia, lovely country . Among the best-known musicians from Thuringia were Veronika Fischer , Tamara Danz , the singer of the band Silly , the pop singer Ute Freudenberg (“childhood love”), the rock musicians Jürgen Kerth and Klaus Renft , founders of the Klaus Renft Combo , and the songwriter Gerhard Gundermann . Most recently pop musicians such as Yvonne Catterfeld or Clueso have been known. In the field of electronic music, bands like Northern Lite or DJs like the Boogie Pimps have emerged. One of the largest festivals in Thuringia takes place in this area, the SonneMondSterne .

    The literary history of Thuringia is inseparably determined by the Weimar Classic . She led German-language literature in the 18th century with the group of poets around Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller . Johann Gottfried Herder , Karl Ludwig von Knebel and Christoph Martin Wieland can also be classified in this era . They concentrated at the Weimar court around Duke Karl August and his mother Anna Amalia . In later epochs, poets such as Rudolf Baumbach , Ludwig Bechstein , Otto Ludwig and Theodor Storm were particularly important for the country . Non-fiction has also produced some important works, the first Duden by Konrad Duden was published in Schleiz in 1872 , and Justus Perthes wrote the first genealogical handbook of the nobility in 1763 , which was later referred to as "der Gotha". From 1863, Brehms Thierleben by Alfred Brehm from Renthendorf near Neustadt an der Orla was published in Hildburghausen . Ernst Haeckel published Darwin's theory of evolution at the University of Jena and developed it further. The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche spent the last years of his life in Weimar, where the Nietzsche archive now manages his estate. From 1900, Hermann Haack from Gotha became an important cartographer .

    In the field of fine arts in Thuringia, the Bauhaus in Weimar was particularly important. In the 1920s, it shaped the world’s style and drew painters such as Lyonel Feininger , Wassily Kandinsky , Paul Klee , Johannes Itten and Oskar Schlemmer as well as architects such as Walter Gropius , Henry van de Velde and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe to the Free State. But painters like Lucas Cranach the Elder or Otto Dix and the sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider also worked in Thuringia.

    Customs and Holidays

    Thuringia has no uniform significant customs, rather these differ from village to village and from region to region. Almost every village in the whole country celebrates the annual fair as the central village festival. According to the company, the Mühlhäuser Kirmes is the largest in Germany. The Eisenach summer win is the largest spring festival in Germany, which is celebrated three weeks before Easter every year with a large pageant. Also shooting matches , in some parts of the country an integral part of village life culture.

    Traditional festivals are also the Rudolstadt bird shooting , the Weimar onion market , the Erfurt Christmas market and the DomStufen festival in the capital Erfurt. Thuringia is also established as a center of popular hits , whose events - often under the direction of the MDR - fill the large halls in the country.

    In addition to the national holidays , Reformation Day is a public holiday in Thuringia, and World Children's Day on September 20 is the only federal state so far since 2019 . Corpus Christi is a public holiday in the entire Eichsfeld district and in some predominantly Catholic communities in the Unstrut-Hainich and Wartburg districts .

    The carnival tradition is only observed sporadically in Thuringia, especially in the Catholic areas in Eichsfeld and in the Rhön. Significant parades take place in Erfurt, which is partly Catholic (one of the largest in East Germany), in Wasungen in the Franconian south of the country and in Apolda and Sondershausen . After 1990, carnival events and parades spread and since then have also been celebrated in some places without a distinct tradition.


    Winter sports with its center in Oberhof , which has produced numerous Olympic and world champions, are particularly characteristic of competitive sports in Thuringia . The most popular disciplines include biathlon, cross-country skiing, Nordic combined and ski jumping on the one hand and tobogganing, bobsleigh and skeleton on the other. In recent years, the comparatively low altitude of Oberhof and the associated uncertainty about the weather made itself felt again and again, so that competition conditions were not always given and events had to be postponed. Speed ​​skating and figure skating have found a center in Erfurt ( Eissportclub Erfurt ), as well as the summer sports of athletics, cycling and swimming. Olympic champions from Thuringia were the toboggan runner Johannes Ludwig and the Berlin-born Oberhofer bobsleigh pilot Mariama Jamanka at the last Winter Games in Pyeongchang in 2018, as well as the track cyclist Kristina Vogel and the javelin thrower Thomas Röhler at the last Summer Games in Rio in 2016 .

    Football, the most popular sport among the public in Thuringia, is rather poorly represented, as it is difficult to attract sponsors, the level of professionalism in management is rather low and the financial situation of the professional clubs is precarious. In the 2020/21 season, for example, no club counts as a professional; At the amateur level, FC Rot-Weiß Erfurt , FC Carl Zeiss Jena , Wacker Nordhausen and ZFC Meuselwitz are among the more successful teams. In women's volleyball, VfB 91 Suhl plays in the Bundesliga and in women's handball, Thuringian HC from Erfurt / Bad Langensalza. The THC has won seven championship titles since 2010. In table tennis, Post SV Mühlhausen played in the Bundesliga (men) in 1951 , while the basketball club Science City Jena competed in the second division.

    The Landessportbund Thuringia brings together almost 3500 popular sports clubs. They have around 370,000 members (approx. 17% of the population), with soccer being the most popular sport with 26% of the members. The largest sports club in the country is FC Carl Zeiss Jena with over 4200 members. In recreational sports, hiking and cycling are very popular; The GutsMuths Rennsteig run takes place every year on the most famous hiking trail, the Rennsteig , with around 15,000 participants. With four stars of the ADFC was Ilm Valley Cycle Route excellent, as was the whole cycle paths network was significantly expanded in 2000, the cycling so that gains in importance, ranging from mountain biking in the mountains to simple routes in the plains, approximately along the Unstrut enough .

    The Duke Golf Club Oberhof with the only listed golf course in Germany, the Schleizer Dreieck as a motor sports track and the horse racing track on Gotha Boxberg are of primary historical importance .


    The Thuringian cuisine is traditionally meat-heavy and rather hearty. Well-known specialties are the Thuringian dumplings , the Thuringian Rostbratwurst and the Rostbrätel .

    Beer is the most important drink in Thuringia, especially the Köstritzer black beer is known nationwide. Pils and other types of beer are produced in the country's many small and medium-sized breweries. The center of viticulture is the town of Bad Sulza in the Ilm Valley. It belongs to the Saale-Unstrut wine-growing region .

    Architectural heritage

    Building history

    Paulinzella Monastery (Romanesque)

    In Thuringia, buildings from the style epochs since the Romanesque have been preserved. Romanesque buildings of importance are the Wartburg , Lohra Castle and the Orlamünde Kemenate in the area of ​​castle construction and the monasteries in Thalbürgel , Paulinzella and Göllingen (Byzantine style) as well as the Nordhausen Cathedral and the Erfurt Peterskirche (former Peterskloster). The Werra bridge in Creuzburg , built in 1223 and thus the oldest bridge in the new federal states, was also built in the Romanesque style.

    The Gothic was characterized by the construction of large, representative city churches. The most important works of this time are the Erfurt Cathedral and the neighboring Severikirche as well as the Predigerkirche and the Barfüßerkirche in Erfurt's old town. Large churches were also built in other cities at this time, such as the Marienkirche and the Divi-Blasii-Kirche in Mühlhausen or the market church in Bad Langensalza and the Jena city church . The Kornhofspeicher in Erfurt is one of the largest Gothic secular buildings .

    Belvedere Palace (Baroque)

    The Renaissance period led to the rise of the bourgeoisie in the cities, as the town and town halls of the time bear witness to. The Altenburg town hall , as well as the Gera town hall and the Erfurt town houses, Haus zum Roten Ochsen , Haus zum Breiten Herd or Haus zum Stockfisch belong to this epoch of Western architecture. In this time of transition from the castle building palace took place, resulting in castle castles like today Upper Castle in Greiz, the Ranis , the Berthold Castle in Schleusingen, the Veste Heldburg or William Castle is clearly in Schmalkalden. Church construction came to a standstill in Thuringia during the Renaissance due to the Reformation.

    In the Baroque the palace was in its heyday. Residences such as the Heidecksburg or Friedenstein Castle were built , but also administrative buildings such as the Kurmainzische Lieutenancy , now the Thuringian State Chancellery, in Erfurt. Country castles were built not far from the residential cities at this time; in the surroundings of Weimar alone, these are Belvedere Palace , Tiefurt Palace and Ettersburg Palace , all of which were built during the baroque period of absolutism. Churches such as the town church Waltershausen (round), outbuildings of residences such as the Orangery Gotha and residential houses of the bourgeoisie such as the Weimar Wittumspalais were also occasionally built.

    Zeiss building 15 (modern)

    The classicism was less influential than in Prussia in Thuringia. Larger palace complexes from this era are the Weimar City Palace and the Lower Palace in Greiz. Occasionally there are also classical church buildings, for example the Dreieinigkeitskirche in Zeulenroda. In the same city is the town hall, the most formative building of classicism in Thuringia. This style was followed by historicism , which was accompanied by enormous population and urban growth, which required numerous new buildings. Historicism still shapes entire cityscapes today. Countless residential and administrative buildings were built, but also churches in the growing districts of the larger cities. The neo-Gothic Landsberg Castle near Meiningen was built in early historicism, followed later by the New Museum in Weimar and the Museum of Nature Gotha . In the final phase of historicism before the First World War, new theaters were built (in Weimar and Meiningen) or the Volkshaus Jena .

    The modern age began in Thuringia during the First World War, when the 42 meter high building 15 in Jena was the first high-rise in Germany. From 1919 onwards, the Bauhaus based in Weimar became style-defining. Under the direction of Walter Gropius , the model house Am Horn was built in Weimar based on the ideals of the Bauhaus. The House of the People in Probstzella was also built according to the principles of the Bauhaus. The Luther Church in Erfurt is one of the few buildings in the Art Deco style , built in 1927. Around 1930, the first social housing quarters were built in the east of Erfurt, stylistically based on Bauhaus and New Objectivity . This was followed by the architecture of National Socialism, which was the specification for the construction of the Gauforum in Weimar. After the war, industrial housing made of precast concrete became dominant in the GDR. This trend was also reflected in the architecture of public buildings. In 1972 the university tower was inaugurated in Jena. Since 2004 it has been 159 meters to the top of the tower. One of the last buildings in the GDR was the monumental building of the Peasant War Panorama ("Elefantenklo") near Bad Frankenhausen from 1987. After German reunification, construction activity concentrated on public buildings such as the Federal Labor Court or the Erfurt Theater , which were in line with contemporary tastes Glass and steel were executed.

    The most famous architects who worked in Thuringia include Nikolaus Gromann (Renaissance), Gottfried Heinrich Krohne (Baroque), Clemens Wenzeslaus Coudray (Classicism), Henry van de Velde (Art Nouveau) and Walter Gropius (Bauhaus Weimar).


    The city of
    Greiz, which was shaped by the founding era

    On June 30, 2007, 988,122 of 2,300,538 people in Thuringia lived in cities with more than 20,000 inhabitants. Although the degree of urbanization is relatively low at 42.95% and most of the cities have not experienced any significant growth since 1940, they form the country's cultural and economic centers. The most extensive cultural life takes place in the cities of Erfurt (state capital), Weimar ( European cultural capital 1999) and Jena (university and economic center). The image of the cities is relatively heterogeneous, with some cities essentially showing a medieval cityscape. This is especially true for Erfurt and Mühlhausen, but also for smaller cities such as Saalfeld and Schmalkalden . The former residences such as Weimar, Gotha, Eisenach, Rudolstadt and Meiningen are characterized by a baroque-classical cityscape. Cities that grew up during the period of industrialization, such as Gera, Altenburg, Greiz or Apolda, are characterized by a Wilhelminian style. The destruction caused by the Second World War ensured that Jena and Nordhausen have extremely heterogeneous city centers in which high-rise buildings and large apartment blocks alternate with half-timbered buildings. In the 1960s and 1970s, the city of Suhl underwent a reconstruction that was unprecedented in Thuringia, in which the majority of the old town center was removed and replaced by a center that was in keeping with the taste of the socialist city . Leinefelde was essentially built during the GDR era and is the only planned city of this type in Thuringia. Many cities in the state are characterized by their location in relatively narrow river valleys, so that there are considerable differences in height within the cities and the building site is limited in many places. As a result, some of the largest cities such as Jena, Gera, Eisenach or Suhl extend over large stretches along a valley and occupy its entire width.

    The administrations deal with historical building stock differently: while some cities are trying very hard to preserve as much of the old town building stock as possible and have thus achieved success ( Bad Langensalza won gold in the 2004 Entente Florale Germany competition ), other cities attach less importance to monument protection. On June 6, 2007 , the city of Gotha decided to demolish the historic Volkshaus zum Mohren , which was carried out in October 2007, and the Winter Palace on September 13, 2006 , which could only be prevented by massive protests from various sides.

    A list of the city halls, which are often important cultural monuments, can be found under List of City Halls in Thuringia .


    The Wartburg

    The hilly landscape with many valley cuts and the central location in the German cultural area have favored the construction of castles in the Free State since the early Middle Ages. The most famous castle in the country is the World Heritage Site belonging Wartburg above Eisenach. It was once the seat of the Landgraves of Thuringia and later the place where Martin Luther was hidden from the imperial powers and translated parts of the Bible into German. Later, the Wartburg gained importance again for the liberal and national student movements of the 19th century, as the Wartburg Festival took place here in 1817 .

    The three equals between Erfurt, Arnstadt and Gotha are well-known castles . One of them is the Mühlburg, the oldest preserved building in Thuringia from the year 704. Other mighty structures are the Creuzburg Castle above the Werra Valley near Creuzburg , the Leuchtenburg above the Saale Valley in Seitenroda and the Osterburg above the Elstertal near Weida . Modern fortresses were a further development of the medieval castles. With the Petersberg Citadel, one of the largest preserved early modern fortifications in Central Europe rises up in the old town of Erfurt.


    In 1918 there were eight monarchies in Thuringia with their own residences. These residences are the largest and most important castles in Thuringia today. The headquarters of the Ernestines was Weimar, where the classical Weimar City Palace, which is now a world cultural heritage site, houses an extensive museum. The peace flintlock in Gotha was the seat of the Duke of Saxe-Gotha also used and is now largely a museum. Other Ernestine residences were Altenburg Castle in Altenburg and Elisabethenburg Castle in Meiningen . In addition, this ducal family maintained many small country castles that are scattered throughout Thuringia. Well-known among them are above all the Dornburg castles above the Saale valley, the castles Tiefurt , Ettersburg and Belvedere near Weimar and Molsdorf near Erfurt and Altenstein Castle with its large landscape park near Bad Liebenstein.

    In addition to the Ernestines, the princely families of Schwarzburg and Reuss ruled Thuringia . The Schwarzburg residences Schloss Heidecksburg in Rudolstadt and the castle in Sondershausen are now just as extensive museums as the Lower and Upper Castle in Greiz . The other Russian residence in Gera, Osterstein Castle , was destroyed in the Second World War. Also worth seeing are Burgk Castle , also belonging to the Princes of Reuss, over the Saale dams, and Schwarzburg Castle in the Schwarzatal.

    Important early modern palace complexes of older ruling families are the Henneberg residence of Bertholdsburg Palace in Schleusingen , Ehrenstein Palace in Ohrdruf and Wilhelmsburg Palace in Schmalkalden as the seat of a branch line of the Landgraves of Hesse.

    Churches and monasteries

    Cathedral and Severikirche in Erfurt
    Gothic Marienkirche in Mühlhausen

    The most important of the approximately 2500 sacred buildings in Thuringia are from the Gothic period and are located in the centers of the historical cities. In Erfurt lies the Erfurt Cathedral, the largest church in Thuringia, which forms a remarkable ensemble with the neighboring Severikirche . In addition, there are around 25 other, mostly Gothic, parish churches in Erfurt's old town, which significantly shape the cityscape. That is why Erfurt has historically been nicknamed the “city of towers” ​​( Latin Erfordia turrita , Erfurt rich in towers ).

    The two main churches of the imperial city of Mühlhausen are important for the Gothic period . The Marienkirche was a center of the Peasants' War of 1525 and has the highest church tower in the Free State (86 meters). The Divi Blasii Church was the place of activity of the composer Johann Sebastian Bach and is the main Gothic church in Mühlhausen. Nordhausen, the second imperial city of Thuringia, is one of the country's two cathedral churches, the Nordhausen Cathedral .

    In the church landscape, the upper church in Bad Frankenhausen with the tower inclined four meters from the vertical and the Russian Orthodox chapel in Weimar, which was once built for Duchess Maria Pavlovna and is one of the oldest Orthodox churches in Germany, are particularly worth mentioning .

    The country's monasteries essentially lost their power with the Reformation at the beginning of the 16th century, after which many were dissolved. This is why Romanesque and Gothic monastery ruins in particular have been preserved today. The Reinhardsbrunn monastery near Gotha (burial place and house monastery of the Landgraves of Thuringia) as well as the Erfurt and Saalfeld Peterskloster were historically significant . The ruins of the monastery in Veßra , Paulinzella , Göllingen and Stadtroda are architecturally interesting . A well-known Thuringian monastery is the Erfurt Augustinian monastery, which was relocated in 1996 and where Martin Luther spent several years of his life. In the Catholic areas of the country (Eichsfeld and partly the city of Erfurt), some monasteries existed until the secularization of the Napoleonic era, before they too were dissolved. Since 1800, there have only been a few continued facilities such as the Ursuline monastery in Erfurt or the Franciscan monastery in Hülfensberg near Geismar in Eichsfeld.


    The most famous monuments in the country are on the one hand that in the district Steinthaleben located Kyffhäuserdenkmal , a 81 meter high, highly visible monument on the mountains near Bad Frankenhausen . It was erected between 1890 and 1896 as a Kaiser Wilhelm monument and is the third largest monument in Germany.

    On the other hand, the Goethe and Schiller monument on the Weimar Theaterplatz is very well known. It belongs to the world cultural heritage and shows the poets Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller . It was erected in 1856. The 33-meter-high fraternity monument near Eisenach from 1902 is a reminder of the German fraternities of the early 19th century, which played a role in the Wartburg Festival of 1817 , among other things .

    See also


    • Steffen Raßloff : Central German history. Saxony - Saxony-Anhalt - Thuringia. Leipzig 2016. New edition Markkleeberg 2019, ISBN 978-3-86729-240-5 .
    • Steffen Raßloff: History of Thuringia . Munich 2010 (2nd edition 2020), ISBN 978-3-406-74734-2 .
    • Steffen Raßloff: Small history of Thuringia . Ilmenau 2017 (2nd edition 2020), ISBN 978-3-95560-056-3 .
    • Reinhard Jonscher, Willy Schilling: Small Thuringian History. From the Thuringian Empire until 1990 . Jenzig-Verlag Köhler, Golmsdorf 2005, ISBN 3-910141-74-9 .
    • Steffen Raßloff: Thuringia. A historical overview . Edited by the State Center for Political Education Thuringia. Erfurt 2004 (3rd edition 2015).
    • Jürgen John : Sources on the history of Thuringia . State Center for Political Education, Erfurt 1997, ISBN 3-931426-14-9 .
    • Bernhard Post, Volker Wahl (ed.): Thuringia manual. Territory, constitution, parliament, government and administration in Thuringia from 1920 to 1995 . Weimar 1999, ISBN 3-7400-0962-4 .
    • Frank Boblenz : Outline of the territorial history of Prussian Thuringia. In: The Prussian Thuringia. Treatises on the history of its representative bodies (=  writings on the history of parliamentarism in Thuringia , Volume 17). Rudolstadt 2001, ISBN 3-89807-020-4 , pp. 9-45.
    • Dehio Handbook of German Art Monuments: Thuringia. 2nd edition, Deutscher Kunstverlag, Berlin / Munich 2003, ISBN 3-422-03095-6 .
    • Hans Müller: Thuringia (= DuMont art travel guide ). Ostfildern 2005, ISBN 3-7701-3848-1 .
    • Nikolaus Huhn: Thuringia in small steps. Notes from the hearing walk . Mitteldeutscher Verlag, Halle 2015, ISBN 978-3-95462-407-2 .

    Web links

    Commons : Thuringia  - collection of images, videos and audio files
    Wikivoyage: Thuringia  - Travel Guide

    Individual evidence

    1. ^ Population of the municipalities from the Thuringian State Office for Statistics  ( help on this ).
    2. Source: Thuringian State Office for Statistics: Selected characteristics of the population - annual data
    3. Unemployment rates in July 2020 - countries and districts. In: Statistics from the Federal Employment Agency, accessed on August 11, 2020 .
    4. Statistics informs ... No. 58/2018. (PDF) Retrieved June 19, 2018 .
    5. Source: destatis, public debt at the end of the 3rd quarter of 2019
    6. GDR Law Gazette Part I No. 51, page 955 of August 14, 1990. Accessed December 30, 2017 .
    7. Thuringia's center is in Rockhausen ( Memento from December 10, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
    8. Weather records at the DWD
    9. Geological survey on the website of the geological service
    10. see also: Soil types in Thuringia
    11. Gerhard Seidel (Ed.): Geology of Thuringia. E. Schweizbartsche Verlagbuchhandlung, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 978-3-510-65205-1
    12. ^ A b c d Hans-Joachim Zündorf, Karl-Friedrich Günther, Heiko Korsch and Werner Westhus: Flora von Thuringia , Weisdorn-Verlag, Jena 2006. ISBN 3-936055-09-2 .
    13. ^ Ostthüringer Zeitung (OTZ) from February 1, 2014, page 1
    14. ^ Thuringian Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Conservation and Environment: Report on the review of the UNESCO biosphere reserve Vessertal - Thuringian Forest( Memento of November 22, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) . August 2003 (status October 2001).
    16. A bit of primeval forest: Thuringia leaves some forest areas to nature , Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk from December 4, 2018.
    17. Almost 6,000 fewer Thuringians within six months. In: October 15, 2019, accessed December 27, 2019 .
    18. ↑ State Development Plan 2025 (second draft 2013) (PDF; 6.7 MB)
    19. (link not available)
    20. ^ W. Lösch, R. Petzold, F. Reinhold, S. Wiegand: Small Thuringian Dictionary, Reclam-Verlag Leipzig, 1995, p. 6.
    21. Evangelical Church in Germany - Church membership numbers as of December 31, 2018 EKD, January 2020
    22. ^ Paul Wappler: The Anabaptist Movement in Thuringia from 1526–1584 . Ed .: Association for Thuringian History and Archeology. Publishing house by Gustav Fischer, 1913.
    23. ^ Christian Hege and Christian Neff: Mennonite Lexicon . tape 4 . Self-published, 1959, p. 324-327 .
    24. From: Homecoming through Thuringia and southern Germany . In: Sommerwanderungen und Winterfahrten (Frauenfeld 1897), p. 306 .
    25. Thüringer Allgemeine, Volume 1 / No. 95, May 9, 1990.
    26. The Russians are coming. The 8th Guard Army in Thuringia 1945–1994 . Special exhibition in the Erfurt City Museum from May to October 2005
    27. Thuringia is accumulating more debts again. In: Südthüringer Zeitung , August 2, 2018, accessed on August 2, 2018 .
    28. MDR: The Bundeswehr in Thuringia, February 14, 2011 ( Memento from October 29, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
    29. Law on the National Emblems of the State of Thuringia of January 30, 1991 . Compare GBl. 1991 p. 1 (digitized here ).
    30. Section 1, Paragraph 1, Sentence 1 of the Law on National Emblems and Article 44, Paragraph 2 , Sentence 2 of the Constitution are identical.
    31. Compare § 2 of the law on the emblems of the state of Thuringia of January 30, 1991.
    32. Compare GVBl. 1991 p. 70 (digital copy here and an updated version of the regulation here ).
    33. ^ Partnerships of the State of Thuringia. Retrieved January 20, 2019 .
    34. Thuringian State Office for Statistics, population projections 2014–2035.
    35. Gross domestic product (GDP) at current market prices by NUTS 3 regions. Eurostat , February 26, 2016, accessed on December 3, 2016 .
    36. ^ Anne Kunz: Millionaires: Why the rich upper class is missing in the East . In: THE WORLD . December 26, 2019 ( [accessed August 11, 2020]).
    37. Federal Statistical Office: Merits at a glance. Wiesbaden, 2017
    38. census database
    39. ^ Statistics from the Federal Employment Agency
    40. ^ Thuringian State Office for Statistics
    41. Thuringia Forest
    42. TLS
    43. ^ Thuringian State Office for Statistics
    44. ^ Thuringian State Office for Statistics
    45. BAST: Manual traffic census 2015
    46. TLS
    47. Federal Environment Agency: Rail network 2025/2030. Dessau, 2010. p. 51 (figures for 2006/2007)
    48. LOK Report - BAG-SPNV: Finally advance rail electrification . ( [accessed on August 21, 2017]).
    49. TLS
    50. TLS
    51. Energy transition in the municipalities ( Memento from June 29, 2013 in the web archive )
    52. Broadband Competence Center ( Memento from June 11, 2017 in the Internet Archive )
    53. TLS
    54. TLS
    55. Life expectancy in Germany by federal state and gender in 2015/2017. Retrieved October 22, 2019 .
    56. BBSR Homepage - Federal Institute for Building, Urban and Spatial Research (BBSR) - Research and policy advice - Where life expectancy is highest in Germany. Retrieved October 22, 2019 .
    57. Thüringer Theaterverband annual issue 2014 and
    59. Erfurt - City of Towers, Erfordia turrita ( Memento from August 12, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) - annual day of action for climbing towers, accessed on November 3, 2015
    This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on November 29, 2007 .

    Coordinates: 50 ° 52 '  N , 11 ° 3'  E