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Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...

state
of
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

Germany
. Located in central Germany, it covers , being the sixth smallest of the sixteen German States (including City States). It has a population of about 2.1 million.
Erfurt Erfurt ( , ; ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller ...

Erfurt
is the state capital and largest city. Other cities are
Jena Jena (; ) is a German city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Rou ...

Jena
,
Gera Gera is, with around 93,000 inhabitants, the third-largest city of Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , be ...
and
Weimar Weimar (; la, Vimaria or Vinaria) is a city in the federal state of Thuringia, Germany. It is located in Central Germany (cultural area), Central Germany between Erfurt in the west and Jena in the east, approximately southwest of Leipzig, nor ...

Weimar
. Thuringia is bordered by
Bavaria Bavaria (; German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language ...

Bavaria
,
Hesse Hesse (, , ) or Hessia (, ; german: Hessen ), officially the State of Hessen (german: links=no, Land Hessen), is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U. ...
,
Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state The Federal Republic of Germany, as a federal state, consists of sixteen partly sovereign federated states (german: Land (state), plural (st ...
,
Saxony-Anhalt Saxony-Anhalt (german: Sachsen-Anhalt ; nds, Sassen-Anholt) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper) ...

Saxony-Anhalt
, and
Saxony Saxony (german: Sachsen ; Upper Saxon Upper Saxon (german: Obersächsisch, ; ) is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part o ...

Saxony
. It has been known as "the green heart of Germany" () from the late 19th century due to its broad, dense forest. Most of Thuringia is in the
Saale The Saale (), also known as the Saxon Saale (german: Sächsische Saale) and Thuringian Saale (german: Thüringische Saale), is a river in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin ...

Saale
drainage basin A drainage basin is any area of land where precipitation collects and drains off into a common outlet, such as into a river, bay, or other body of water. The drainage basin includes all the surface water from surface runoff, rain runoff, snowm ...

drainage basin
, a left-bank tributary of the
Elbe The Elbe (, ; cs, Labe ; nds, Ilv or ''Elv''; Upper and dsb, Łobjo), historically in English also Elve, is one of the major river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake o ...

Elbe
. Thuringia is home to the
Rennsteig The () is a ridge walk as well as an historical boundary path in the Thuringian Forest, Thuringian Highland and Franconian Forest in Central Germany (cultural area), Central Germany. The long-distance trail runs for about from and the valley ...

Rennsteig
, Germany's best-known
hiking trail A trail is usually a path, track or unpaved lane or road. In the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, path or footpath A footpath (also pedestrian way, walking trail, nature trail) is a type of thoroughfare that is intended for us ...

hiking trail
. Its winter resort of Oberhof makes it a well-equipped
winter sports #REDIRECT Winter sports#REDIRECT Winter sports Winter sports or winter activities are competitive sports or non-competitive recreational activities which are played on snow or ice. Most are variations of skiing, ice skating and sledding. Traditi ...
destination – half of Germany's 136
Winter Olympic The Winter Olympic Games (french: Jeux olympiques d'hiver) is a major international multi-sport event held once every four years for sports practiced on snow and ice. The first Winter Olympic Games, the 1924 Winter Olympics, were held in ...

Winter Olympic
gold medals as of 2014 were by Thuringian athletes. Thuringia was favoured or was the birthplace of three key intellectuals and leaders in the arts:
Johann Sebastian Bach Johann Sebastian Bach (28 July 1750) was a German composer and musician of the late Baroque music, Baroque period. He is known for instrumental compositions such as the Cello Suites (Bach), Cello Suites and ''Brandenburg Concertos''; keyboard ...

Johann Sebastian Bach
,
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of G ...

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
, and
Friedrich Schiller Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (, short: ; 10 November 17599 May 1805) was a Germans, German playwright, poet, and philosopher. During the last seventeen years of his life (1788–1805), Schiller developed a productive, if complicated, ...

Friedrich Schiller
. The state has the
University of Jena The University of Jena, officially the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (german: Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, abbreviated FSU, shortened form ''Uni Jena''), is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the prac ...
, the Ilmenau University of Technology, the
University of Erfurt The University of Erfurt (german: Universität Erfurt) is a public university located in Erfurt Erfurt ( , ; ) is the capital and largest city in the state of Thuringia, central Germany. It is located in the southern part of the Thuringia ...
, and the Bauhaus University of Weimar. Thuringia had an earlier existence as the
Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient northern European tribes, first mentioned by Graeco-Roman author ...

Frankish
Duchy of Thuringia The Duchy of Thuringia was an eastern frontier march In medieval Europe In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted from the 5th to the late 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire ...
, established around 631 AD by King Dagobert I. The state was established in 1920 as a state of the Weimar Republic from a merger of the
Ernestine duchies The Ernestine duchies (), also known as the Saxon duchies (''Sächsische Herzogtümer'', although the Albertine appanage An appanage, or apanage (; french: apanage ), is the grant of an estate, title, office or other thing of value to a youn ...
, save for
Saxe-Coburg Saxe-Coburg (german: Sachsen-Coburg) was a duchy A duchy is a medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of ...
. After
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, Thuringia came under the
Soviet occupation zone The Soviet Occupation Zone ( "East Zone"; , ''Sovetskaya okkupatsionnaya zona Germanii'', "Soviet Occupation Zone of Germany") was an area of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin B ...
in
Allied-occupied Germany Allied-occupied Germany (, literally "Germany in the occupation period") was the administration of Germany () upon defeat of Nazi Germany Nazi Germany, (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. ...
, and its borders were reformed, to become
contiguous Contiguity or contiguous may refer to: *Contiguous data storage, in computer science *Contiguity (probability theory) *Contiguity (psychology) *Contiguous distribution of species, in biogeography *Geographic contiguity of territorial land *Contiguo ...
. Thuringia became part of the
German Democratic Republic German(s) may refer to: * Germany (of or related to) **Germania (historical use) * Germans, citizens of Germany, people of German ancestry, or native speakers of the German language ** For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law **Ger ...
in 1949 but was dissolved in 1952 during administrative reforms, to be divided into the Districts of
Erfurt Erfurt ( , ; ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller ...

Erfurt
,
Suhl Suhl () is a city in Thuringia, Germany, located SW of Erfurt, NE of Würzburg and N of Nuremberg. With its 37,000 inhabitants, it is the smallest of the six urban districts within Thuringia. Together with its northern neighbour-town Zella- ...

Suhl
and
Gera Gera is, with around 93,000 inhabitants, the third-largest city of Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , be ...

Gera
. Thuringia was re-established in 1990 following
German reunification German reunification (german: Deutsche Wiedervereinigung) was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic German(s) may refer to: * Germany (of or related to) **Germania (historical use) * Germans, citizens of Germany, peop ...
, slightly re-drawn, and became one of the new states of the Federal Republic of Germany.


Etymology and symbols

The name ''Thuringia'' or ''Thüringen'' derives from the Germanic tribe
Thuringii The Thuringii, Toringi or Teuriochaimai, were an early Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples and tribes * Germanic lan ...
, who emerged during the
Migration Period The Migration Period, also known as the Barbarian Invasions (from the Roman and Greek perspective), is a term sometimes used for the period in the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the ...
. Their origin is largely unknown. An older theory claims that they were successors of the
Hermunduri The Hermunduri, Hermanduri, Hermunduli, Hermonduri, or Hermonduli were an ancient Germanic tribe This list of ancient s is an inventory of ancient Germanic cultures, tribal groupings and other alliances of Germanic tribes and civilisations in an ...
, but later research rejected the idea. Other historians argue that the Thuringians were allies of the
Huns The Huns were a nomadic people A nomad ( frm, nomade "people without fixed habitation") is a member of a community without fixed habitation which regularly moves to and from the same areas. Such groups include hunter-gatherers, pastoral ...

Huns
, came to central Europe together with them, and lived before in what is
Galicia Galicia may refer to: Geographic regions * Galicia (Spain), a region and autonomous community of northwestern Spain ** Gallaecia, a Roman province ** The post-Roman Kingdom of the Suebi, also called the Kingdom of Gallaecia ** The medieval Kingdom ...
today.
Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus Publius (or Flavius) Vegetius Renatus, known as Vegetius (), was a writer of the Later Roman Empire (late 4th century). Nothing is known of his life or station beyond what is contained in his two surviving works: ''Epitoma rei militaris'' (also r ...
first mentioned the Thuringii around 400; during that period, the Thuringii were famous for their excellent horses. The Thuringian Realm existed until after 531, the
Landgraviate of Thuringia The Duchy of Thuringia was an eastern frontier march of the Merovingian The Merovingian dynasty () was the ruling family of the Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from ...
was the largest state in the region, persisting between 1131 and 1247. Afterwards the state known as Thuringia ceased to exist; nevertheless the term commonly described the region between the
Harz The Harz () is a highland area in northern Germany. It has the highest elevations for that region, and its rugged terrain extends across parts of Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is ...

Harz
mountains in the north, the
White Elster The White Elster
Accessed on 16 Jan 2011. (, ) is a long river in central Europe, right tributary of the Saale. Its s ...
river in the east, the
Franconian Forest View to Döbraberg The Franconian Forest''Franconian Forest''
at www.britannica.com. Accesse ...
in the south and the
Werra The Werra (), a river in central Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany b ...
river in the west. After the
Treaty of Leipzig The Treaty of Leipzig or Partition of Leipzig (German ''Leipziger Teilung'') was signed on 11 November 1485 between Elector Ernest of Saxony and his younger brother Albert III, the sons of Elector Frederick II of Saxony from the House of Wettin ...
, Thuringia had its own dynasty again, the Ernestine Wettins. Their various lands formed the Free State of Thuringia, founded in 1920, together with some other small principalities. The
Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian Distribution of the Baltic tribes, circa 1200 CE (boundaries are approximate). Old Prussian was a Western Baltic language belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages The Indo-Europ ...

Prussia
n territories around
Erfurt Erfurt ( , ; ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller ...

Erfurt
,
Mühlhausen Mühlhausen () is a city in the north-west of Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , being the sixth sma ...

Mühlhausen
and
NordhausenNordhausen may refer to: * Nordhausen (district), a district in Thuringia, Germany ** Nordhausen, Thuringia, a city in the district **Nordhausen station, the railway station in the city **Free Imperial City of Nordhausen, a free imperial city of the ...
joined Thuringia in 1945. The
coat of arms of Thuringia
coat of arms of Thuringia
shows the lion of the Ludowingian Landgraves of 12th-century origin. The eight stars around it represent the eight former states which formed Thuringia. The
flag of Thuringia Both the civil and state flag of the German state of Thuringia feature a bicolour of white over red. Introduced with the formation of the state of Thuringia within the Weimar Republic in 1920, it is the reverse of the flag of Hesse, both flags ultim ...

flag of Thuringia
is a white-red bicolor, derived from the white and red stripes of the Ludowingian lion. The
coat of arms#REDIRECT coat of arms A coat of arms is a heraldry, heraldic communication design, visual design on an escutcheon (heraldry), escutcheon (i.e., shield), surcoat, or tabard. The coat of arms on an escutcheon forms the central element of the fu ...

coat of arms
and
flag of Hesse The civil flag of Hesse Hesse (, , ) or Hessia (, ; german: Hessen ), officially the State of Hessen (german: links=no, Land Hessen), is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly ma ...

flag of Hesse
are quite similar to the Thuringian ones, since they are also derived from the Ludowingian symbols. Symbols of Thuringia in popular culture are the ''
Bratwurst Bratwurst (; plural Bratwürste) is a type of German sausage typically made from pork, and less commonly from beef or veal. The name is derived from the Old High German ''Brätwurst'', from ''brät-'', finely chopped meat, and ''Wurst'', sausage, ...
'' and the
Forest A forest is an area of land dominated by tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a ...
, because a large amount of the territory is forested.


History

Named after the
Thuringii The Thuringii, Toringi or Teuriochaimai, were an early Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples and tribes * Germanic lan ...
Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples and tribes * Germanic languages :* Proto-Germanic language, a reconstructed proto-language of ...

Germanic
tribe who occupied it around AD 300, Thuringia came under
Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient northern European tribes, first mentioned by Graeco-Roman author ...

Frankish
domination in the 6th century. Thuringia became a
landgraviate Landgrave (german: Landgraf, nl, landgraaf, sv, lantgreve, french: landgrave; la, comes magnus, ', ', ', ', ') was a noble title used in the Holy Roman Empire, and later on in its former territories. The German titles of ', ' ("margrave"), an ...
in 1130 AD. After the extinction of the reigning Ludowingian line of counts and landgraves in 1247 and the
War of the Thuringian SuccessionThe War of the Thuringian Succession (German: ''thüringisch-hessischer Erbfolgekrieg'') (1247–1264) was a military conflict over a successor to the last Landgrave of Thuringia This is a list of the rulers of Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thü ...
(1247–1264), the western half became independent under the name of "
Hesse Hesse (, , ) or Hessia (, ; german: Hessen ), officially the State of Hessen (german: links=no, Land Hessen), is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U. ...
", never to become a part of Thuringia again. Most of the remaining Thuringia came under the rule of the
Wettin dynasty The House of Wettin () is a dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n.''" Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the university press of Univ ...
of the nearby
Margraviate of Meissen The Margravate of Meissen (german: Markgrafschaft Meißen) was a medieval principality in the area of the modern German state of Saxony Saxony (german: Sachsen ; Upper Saxon German, Upper Saxon: ''Saggsn''; hsb, Sakska), officially the Fr ...
, the nucleus of the later
Electorate Electorate may refer to: * The people who are eligible to vote in an Election#Electorate, election, especially their number e.g. the term ''size of (the) electorate'' * The dominion of a Prince-elector in the Holy Roman Empire until 1806 * An electo ...
and
Kingdom of Saxony The Kingdom of Saxony (german: Königreich Sachsen), lasting from 1806 to 1918, was an independent member of a number of historical confederacies in French period, Napoleonic through German Confederation, post-Napoleonic Germany. The kingdom was ...
. With the division of the house of Wettin in 1485, Thuringia went to the senior
ErnestineErnestine is a feminine given name. Ernest is the male counterpart of this name. Notable people with the name include: * Ernestine Anderson (1928–2016), American jazz and blues singer * Ernestine Bayer (1909–2006), American athlete * Ernestine B ...
branch of the family, which subsequently subdivided the area into a number of smaller states, according to the Saxon tradition of dividing inheritance amongst male heirs. These were the " Saxon duchies", consisting, among others, of the states of
Saxe-Weimar Saxe-Weimar (german: Sachsen-Weimar) was one of the Saxon The Saxons ( la, Saxones, german: Sachsen, ang, Seaxan, osx, Sahson, nds, Sassen, nl, Saksen) were a group of early Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-lin ...
,
Saxe-Eisenach Saxe-Eisenach (german: Sachsen-Eisenach) was an Ernestine duchy ruled by the Saxon House of Wettin The House of Wettin () is a dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dyn ...
,
Saxe-Jena The Duchy of Saxe-Jena was one of the Saxon Duchies held by the Ernestine line of the Wettin Dynasty. Established in 1672 for Bernhard Bernhard is both a given name and a surname. Notable people with the name include: Given name *Bernhard of ...
,
Saxe-Meiningen Saxe-Meiningen (; ) was one of the Saxon duchies held by the Ernestine line of the Wettin dynasty, located in the southwest of the present-day German state of Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuring ...
,
Saxe-Altenburg Saxe-Altenburg (german: Sachsen-Altenburg, links=no) was one of the Saxon duchies held by the Ernestine duchies, Ernestine branch of the House of Wettin in present-day Thuringia. It was one of the smallest of the German states with an area of 132 ...
,
Saxe-Coburg Saxe-Coburg (german: Sachsen-Coburg) was a duchy A duchy is a medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of ...
, and
Saxe-Gotha Saxe-Gotha (german: Sachsen-Gotha) was one of the Saxon duchies held by the Ernestine branch The House of Wettin () is a dynasty of Germany, German counts, dukes, Prince Elector, prince-electors and monarch, kings that once ruled territories in ...
. Thuringia generally accepted the
Protestant Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity Western Christianity is one of two sub-divisions of Christianity Christianity is an Abra ...
, and
Roman Catholicism The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian r ...

Roman Catholicism
was suppressed as early as 1520; priests who remained loyal to it were driven away and churches and monasteries were largely destroyed, especially during the
German Peasants' War The German Peasants' War, Great Peasants' War or Great Peasants' Revolt (german: Deutscher Bauernkrieg) was a widespread popular revolt in some German-speaking The German language (, ) is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in Ce ...
of 1525. In
Mühlhausen Mühlhausen () is a city in the north-west of Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , being the sixth sma ...

Mühlhausen
and elsewhere, the
Anabaptists Anabaptism (from Neo-Latin , from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. It ...
found many adherents.
Thomas Müntzer Thomas Müntzer ( – 27 May 1525) was a German preacher and theologian of the early Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity ...

Thomas Müntzer
, a leader of some non-peaceful groups of this sect, was active in this city. Within the borders of modern Thuringia the Roman Catholic faith only survived in the
Eichsfeld The Eichsfeld ( or ; English: ''Oak-field'') is a historical region in the southeast of the state of Lower Saxony (which is called "Untereichsfeld" = lower Eichsfeld) and northwest of the state of Thuringia ("Obereichsfeld" = upper Eichsfeld) in th ...

Eichsfeld
district, which was ruled by the
Archbishop of Mainz The Elector of Mainz was one of the seven Prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire. As both the Archbishop of Mainz and the ruling prince of the Electorate of Mainz, the Elector of Mainz held a powerful position during the Middle Ages. The Archb ...
, and to a small degree in
Erfurt Erfurt ( , ; ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller ...

Erfurt
and its immediate vicinity.


Early modern period

The modern German
black-red-gold tricolour flag's
black-red-gold tricolour flag's
first appearance anywhere in a German-ethnicity
sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social relation, social relatio ...
, within what today comprises Germany, occurred in 1778 as the state flag of the
Principality of Reuss-Greiz The Principality of Reuss-Greiz (german: Fürstentum Reuß-Greiz), called the Principality of the Reuss Elder Line (german: Fürstentum Reuß älterer Linie) after 1848, was a sovereign state in modern Germany, ruled by members of the House of ...
, a defunct principality in the modern state's borders. Some reordering of the Thuringian states occurred during the
German Mediatisation German mediatisation (; german: deutsche Mediatisierung) was the major territorial restructuring that took place between 1802 and 1814 in Germany and the surrounding region by means of the mass mediatisation and secularisation of a large number ...
from 1795 to 1814, and the territory was included within the Napoleonic
Confederation of the Rhine The Confederated States of the Rhine, simply known as the Confederation of the Rhine, was a confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common act ...
organized in 1806. The 1815
Congress of Vienna The Congress of Vienna (, ) of 1814–1815 was an international diplomatic conference to reconstitute the European political order after the downfall of the French Emperor Napoleon I Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) w ...

Congress of Vienna
confirmed these changes and the Thuringian states' inclusion in the
German Confederation The German Confederation (german: Deutscher Bund) was an association of 39 predominantly German-speaking sovereign states in Central Europe, created by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 as a replacement of the former Holy Roman Empire, which had ...

German Confederation
; the
Kingdom of Prussia The Kingdom of Prussia (german: Königreich Preußen) was a German kingdom Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female ...
also acquired some Thuringian territory and administered it within the
Province of Saxony The Province of Saxony (german: Provinz Sachsen), also known as Prussian Saxony () was a provinces of Prussia, province of the Kingdom of Prussia and later the Free State of Prussia from 1816 until 1944. Its capital was Magdeburg. It was formed ...
. The Thuringian duchies which became part of the
German Empire The German Empire or the Imperial State of Germany,, officially '.Herbert Tuttle Herbert Tuttle (1846–1894) was an American historian. Biography Herbert Tuttle was born in Bennington, Vermont Bennington is a New England town, town ...
in 1871 during the Prussian-led
unification of Germany The unification of Germany into the German Empire The German Empire or the Imperial State of Germany,, officially '.Herbert Tuttle Herbert Tuttle (1846–1894) was an American historian. Biography Herbert Tuttle was born in Benningto ...
were
Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (german: Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach) was a historical German state, created as a duchy A duchy, also called a dukedom, is a , territory, , or domain ruled by a or , a high-ranking nobleman hierarchically second to the or ...
,
Saxe-Meiningen Saxe-Meiningen (; ) was one of the Saxon duchies held by the Ernestine line of the Wettin dynasty, located in the southwest of the present-day German state of Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuring ...
,
Saxe-Altenburg Saxe-Altenburg (german: Sachsen-Altenburg, links=no) was one of the Saxon duchies held by the Ernestine duchies, Ernestine branch of the House of Wettin in present-day Thuringia. It was one of the smallest of the German states with an area of 132 ...
,
Saxe-Coburg-Gotha Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (german: Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha), or Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (), was an ErnestineErnestine is a feminine given name. Ernest is the male counterpart of this name. Notable people with the name include: * Ernestine Anderson (19 ...
,
Schwarzburg-Sondershausen Schwarzburg-Sondershausen was a small principality in Germany, in the present day state of Thuringia, with its capital at Sondershausen. History Schwarzburg-Sondershausen was a Graf, county until 1697. In that year, it became a principality, whi ...
,
Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt was a small historic state in present-day Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State ...
and the two principalities of
Reuss Elder Line The Principality of Reuss-Greiz (german: Fürstentum Reuß-Greiz), called the Principality of the Reuss Elder Line (german: Fürstentum Reuß älterer Linie) after 1848, was a sovereign state in modern Germany, ruled by members of the House of R ...
and
Reuss Younger Line The Principality of Reuss-Gera (german: Fürstentum Reuß-Gera), called the Principality of the Reuss Junior Line (german: Fürstentum Reuß jüngerer Linie) after 1848, was a sovereign state in modern Germany, ruled by members of the House of Reu ...
.


Free State of Thuringia

In 1920, after
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
, these small states merged into one state, called Thuringia; only
Saxe-Coburg Saxe-Coburg (german: Sachsen-Coburg) was a duchy A duchy is a medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of ...
voted to join
Bavaria Bavaria (; German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language ...

Bavaria
instead.
Weimar Weimar (; la, Vimaria or Vinaria) is a city in the federal state of Thuringia, Germany. It is located in Central Germany (cultural area), Central Germany between Erfurt in the west and Jena in the east, approximately southwest of Leipzig, nor ...

Weimar
became the new capital of Thuringia. The coat of arms of this new state was simpler than those of its predecessors. In 1930, Thuringia was one of the free states where the Nazis gained real political power. Wilhelm Frick was appointed Minister of the Interior for the state of Thuringia after the Nazi Party won six delegates to the Thuringia Diet. In this position he removed from the Thuringia police force anyone he suspected of being a republican and replaced them with men who were favourable towards the Nazi Party. He also ensured that whenever an important position came up within Thuringia, he used his power to ensure that a Nazi was given that post. After being controlled briefly by the US, from July 1945, the state of Thuringia came under the
Soviet occupation zone The Soviet Occupation Zone ( "East Zone"; , ''Sovetskaya okkupatsionnaya zona Germanii'', "Soviet Occupation Zone of Germany") was an area of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin B ...
, and was expanded to include parts of Prussian Saxony, such as the areas around
Erfurt Erfurt ( , ; ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller ...

Erfurt
,
Mühlhausen Mühlhausen () is a city in the north-west of Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , being the sixth sma ...

Mühlhausen
, and
NordhausenNordhausen may refer to: * Nordhausen (district), a district in Thuringia, Germany ** Nordhausen, Thuringia, a city in the district **Nordhausen station, the railway station in the city **Free Imperial City of Nordhausen, a free imperial city of the ...
. Erfurt became the new capital of Thuringia. Ostheim, an exclave of ''
Landkreis In all German states, except for the three city states, the primary administrative subdivision higher than a Gemeinde (Municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate statu ...
'' Eisenach, was ceded to Bavaria. In 1952, the
German Democratic Republic German(s) may refer to: * Germany (of or related to) **Germania (historical use) * Germans, citizens of Germany, people of German ancestry, or native speakers of the German language ** For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law **Ger ...
dissolved its states, and created districts () instead. The three districts that shared the former territory of Thuringia were Erfurt,
Gera Gera is, with around 93,000 inhabitants, the third-largest city of Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , be ...
and
Suhl Suhl () is a city in Thuringia, Germany, located SW of Erfurt, NE of Würzburg and N of Nuremberg. With its 37,000 inhabitants, it is the smallest of the six urban districts within Thuringia. Together with its northern neighbour-town Zella- ...

Suhl
.
Altenburg Altenburg () is a city in Thuringia, Germany, located south of Leipzig, west of Dresden and east of Erfurt. It is the capital of the Altenburger Land district and part of a polycentric old-industrial textile and metal production region betw ...

Altenburg
Kreis was part of
Leipzig Leipzig (, ; Upper Saxon: ) is the most populous city in the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony. With a population of 605,407 inhabitants as of 2021 (1.1 million residents in the larger urban zone), it surpasses the Saxon c ...

Leipzig
Bezirk. The State of Thuringia was recreated with slightly altered borders during
German reunification German reunification (german: Deutsche Wiedervereinigung) was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic German(s) may refer to: * Germany (of or related to) **Germania (historical use) * Germans, citizens of Germany, peop ...
in 1990.


Geography


Topography

From the northwest going clockwise, Thuringia borders on the German states of
Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state The Federal Republic of Germany, as a federal state, consists of sixteen partly sovereign federated states (german: Land (state), plural (st ...
,
Saxony-Anhalt Saxony-Anhalt (german: Sachsen-Anhalt ; nds, Sassen-Anholt) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper) ...

Saxony-Anhalt
,
Saxony Saxony (german: Sachsen ; Upper Saxon Upper Saxon (german: Obersächsisch, ; ) is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part o ...

Saxony
,
Bavaria Bavaria (; German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language ...

Bavaria
and
Hesse Hesse (, , ) or Hessia (, ; german: Hessen ), officially the State of Hessen (german: links=no, Land Hessen), is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U. ...
. The landscapes of Thuringia are quite diverse. The far north is occupied by the
Harz The Harz () is a highland area in northern Germany. It has the highest elevations for that region, and its rugged terrain extends across parts of Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is ...

Harz
mountains, followed by the
Goldene AueThe Goldene Aue (German: "golden meadow") is a valley in eastern Germany, in the states Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt. It is situated between the towns Nordhausen, Thuringia, Nordhausen in the west, and Sangerhausen in the east. It is bordered by the m ...
, a fertile floodplain around
NordhausenNordhausen may refer to: * Nordhausen (district), a district in Thuringia, Germany ** Nordhausen, Thuringia, a city in the district **Nordhausen station, the railway station in the city **Free Imperial City of Nordhausen, a free imperial city of the ...
with the
Helme The Helme is river in central Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by ...

Helme
as most important river. The north-west includes the
Eichsfeld The Eichsfeld ( or ; English: ''Oak-field'') is a historical region in the southeast of the state of Lower Saxony (which is called "Untereichsfeld" = lower Eichsfeld) and northwest of the state of Thuringia ("Obereichsfeld" = upper Eichsfeld) in th ...

Eichsfeld
, a hilly and sometimes forested region, where the
Leine The Leine (; Old Saxon Old Saxon, also known as Old Low German, was a Germanic language The Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eura ...

Leine
river emanates. The central and northern part of Thuringia is defined by the wide
Thuringian Basin The Thuringian Basin (german: Thüringer Becken) is a depression (geology), depression in the central and northwest part of Thuringia in Germany which is crossed by several rivers, the longest of which is the Unstrut. It stretches about from north ...
, a very fertile and flat area around the
Unstrut The Unstrut is a river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching ...
river and completely surrounded by the following hill chains (clockwise from the north-west): Dün,
HainleiteThe Hainleite is a Muschelkalk ridge of hills up to in northern Thuringia, Germany. Geography This heavily-wooded landscape lies between Bleicherode in Nordhausen district, Sondershausen in Kyffhäuserkreis, Kyffhäuser district, Bad Frankenhause ...
, Windleite, Kyffhäuser, Hohe Schrecke, Schmücke, Finne (hills), Finne, Ettersberg, Steigerwald (Erfurt), Steigerwald, Thuringian Forest, Hörselberge and Hainich. Within the Basin the smaller hill chains Fahner Höhe (hills), Fahner Höhe and Heilinger Höhen. South of the Thuringian Basin is the state's largest mountain range, marked by the Thuringian Forest in the north-west, the Thuringian Highland in the middle and the
Franconian Forest View to Döbraberg The Franconian Forest''Franconian Forest''
at www.britannica.com. Accesse ...
in the south-east. Most of this range is forested and the Großer Beerberg (983 m) is Thuringia's highest mountain. To the south-west, the Forest is followed up by
Werra The Werra (), a river in central Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany b ...
river valley, dividing it from the Rhön Mountains in the west and the Grabfeld plain in the south. Eastern Thuringia, commonly described as the area east of
Saale The Saale (), also known as the Saxon Saale (german: Sächsische Saale) and Thuringian Saale (german: Thüringische Saale), is a river in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin ...

Saale
and Loquitz valley, is marked by a hilly landscape, rising slowly from the flat north to the mountainous south. The Saale in the west and the White Elster in the east are the two big rivers running from south to north and forming densely settled valleys in this area. Between them lies the flat and forested Thuringian Holzland, Holzland in the north, the flat and fertile Orlasenke in the middle and the Vogtland, a hilly but in most parts non-forested region in the south. The far eastern region (east of White Elster) is the Osterland or Altenburger Land along Pleiße river, a flat, fertile and densely settled agricultural area. There are two large rivers in Thuringia. The
Saale The Saale (), also known as the Saxon Saale (german: Sächsische Saale) and Thuringian Saale (german: Thüringische Saale), is a river in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin ...

Saale
, a tributary of the
Elbe The Elbe (, ; cs, Labe ; nds, Ilv or ''Elv''; Upper and dsb, Łobjo), historically in English also Elve, is one of the major river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake o ...

Elbe
, with its tributaries the
Unstrut The Unstrut is a river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching ...
, Ilm (Thuringia), Ilm and White Elster, drains the most part of Thuringia. The
Werra The Werra (), a river in central Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany b ...
– the headwater of the Weser – drains the south-west and west of the state. Furthermore, some small areas on the southern border are drained by tributaries of the Main (river), Main, itself a tributary of the Rhine. There are no large natural lakes in Thuringia, but it does have some of Germany's biggest dams, including the Bleiloch Dam and the Hohenwarte Dam on the River Saale, as well as the Leibis-Lichte Dam and the Goldisthal Pumped Storage Station in the Thuringian Highlands. Thuringia is Germany's only state with no connection to navigable waterways. The Centroid, geographic centre of the Germany, Federal Republic is in Thuringia, within the municipality of Vogtei, Thuringia, Vogtei next to
Mühlhausen Mühlhausen () is a city in the north-west of Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , being the sixth sma ...

Mühlhausen
. The centre of Thuringia is eight kilometres south of the capital's Erfurt Cathedral, Cathedral, in the municipality of Rockhausen.


Climate

Thuringia's climate is Temperate climate, temperate with humid westerly winds predominating. Increasingly as one moves from the north-west to the south-east, the climate shows continental features: winters can be cold for long periods, and summers can become warm. Dry periods are often recorded, especially within the Thuringian Basin, leeward to mountains in all directions. It is Germany's driest area, with annual precipitation of only 400 to 500 mm. Artern, in the north-east, is warm and dry, with a mean annual temperature of 8.5 °C and mean precipitation of 450 mm; contrast this with wet, cool Oberhof, in the Thuringian Forest, where temperature averages only 4.4 °C and mean annual precipitation reaches 1300 mm.


Nature and environment

Due to many centuries of intensive settlement, most of the area is shaped by human influence. The original natural vegetation of Thuringia is forest with Fagus sylvatica, beech as its predominant species, as can still be found in the Hainich mountains today. In the uplands, a mixture of beech and Picea abies, spruce would be natural. However, most of the plains have been cleared and are in intensive agricultural use while most of the forests are planted with spruce and Scots pine, pine. Since 1990, Thuringia's forests have been managed aiming for a more natural and tough vegetation more resilient to climate change as well as diseases and vermin. In comparison to the forest, agriculture is still quite conventional and dominated by large structures and monocultures. Problems here are caused especially by increasingly prolonged dry periods during the summer months. Environmental damage in Thuringia has been reduced to a large extent after 1990. The condition of forests, rivers and air was improved by modernizing factories, houses (decline of coal heating) and cars, and contaminated areas such as the former Uranium surface mines around Ronneburg, Thuringia, Ronneburg have been remediated. Today's environmental problems are the salination of the
Werra The Werra (), a river in central Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany b ...
river, caused by discharges of K+S salt mines around Unterbreizbach and overfertilisation in agriculture, damaging the soil and small rivers. Environment and nature protection has been of growing importance and attention since 1990. Large areas, especially within the forested mountains, are protected as natural reserves, including Thuringia's first national park within the Hainich National Park, Hainich mountains, founded in 1997, the Rhön Biosphere Reserve, the Thuringian Forest Nature Park and the South Harz Nature Park.


Demographics


Demographic history

During the Middle Ages, Thuringia was at the border between Germanic and Slavic territories, marked by the
Saale The Saale (), also known as the Saxon Saale (german: Sächsische Saale) and Thuringian Saale (german: Thüringische Saale), is a river in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin ...

Saale
river. The main Slavic tribe in what is now Thuringia were the Sorbs (tribe), Sorbs proper, who Sorbs, unified all tribes in what is now southern half of Eastern Germany. The Ostsiedlung movement led to the assimilation of Slavic people between the 11th and the 13th century under German rule. The population growth increased during the 18th century and stayed high until World War I, before it slowed within the 20th century and changed to a decline since 1990. Since the beginning of Urbanisation around 1840, the Thuringian cities have higher growth rates resp. smaller rates of decline than rural areas (many villages lost half of their population since 1950, whereas the biggest cities (
Erfurt Erfurt ( , ; ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller ...

Erfurt
and
Jena Jena (; ) is a German city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Rou ...

Jena
) kept growing).


Current population

The current population is 2,120,237 (December 31, 2020) with an annual rate of decrease of about 0.5%, which varies widely between the local regions. In 2012, 905,000 Thuringians lived in a municipality with more than 20,000 inhabitants, this is an urbanization rate of 42% which continues to rise. In July 2013, there were 41,000 non-Germans by citizenship living in Thuringia (1.9% of the population − among the smallest proportions of any state in Germany). Nevertheless, the number rose from 33,000 in July 2011, an increase of 24% in only two years. About 4% of the population are migrants (including persons that already received the German citizenship). The biggest groups of foreigners by citizenship are (as of 2012): Russians in Germany, Russians (3,100), Poles in Germany, Poles (3,000), Turks in Germany, Turks (2,100) and Ukrainians in Germany, Ukrainians (2,000). The number of foreigners varies between regions: the college towns
Erfurt Erfurt ( , ; ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller ...

Erfurt
,
Jena Jena (; ) is a German city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Rou ...

Jena
,
Weimar Weimar (; la, Vimaria or Vinaria) is a city in the federal state of Thuringia, Germany. It is located in Central Germany (cultural area), Central Germany between Erfurt in the west and Jena in the east, approximately southwest of Leipzig, nor ...

Weimar
and Ilmenau have the highest rates, whereas there are almost no migrants living in the most rural smaller municipalities. The Thuringian population has a significant human sex ratio, sex ratio gap, caused by the emigration of young women, especially in rural areas. Overall, there are 115 to 120 men per 100 women in the 25–40 age group ("family founders") which has negative consequences for the birth ratio. Furthermore, the population is getting older and older with some rural municipalities recording more than 30% of over-65s (pensioners). This is a problem for the regional labour market, as there are twice as many people leaving as entering the job market annually.


Natural and spatial tendencies

The birth rate was about 1.8 children per women in the 1970s and 1980s, shrinking to 0.8 in 1994 during the economic crisis after the reunification and rose again to more than 1.4 children in 2010, which is a higher level than in West Germany. Nevertheless, there are only 17,000 births compared to 27,000 deaths per year, so that the annual natural change of the Thuringian population is about −0.45%. In 2015 there were 17.934 births, the highest number since 1990. Migration plays an important role in Thuringia. The internal migration shows a strong tendency from rural areas towards the big cities. From 2008 to 2012, there was a net migration from Thuringia to
Erfurt Erfurt ( , ; ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller ...

Erfurt
of +6,700 persons (33 per 1000 inhabitants), +1,800 to
Gera Gera is, with around 93,000 inhabitants, the third-largest city of Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , be ...
(19 per 1000), +1,400 to
Jena Jena (; ) is a German city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Rou ...

Jena
(14 per 1000), +1,400 to Eisenach (33 per 1000) and +1,300 to
Weimar Weimar (; la, Vimaria or Vinaria) is a city in the federal state of Thuringia, Germany. It is located in Central Germany (cultural area), Central Germany between Erfurt in the west and Jena in the east, approximately southwest of Leipzig, nor ...

Weimar
(21 per 1000). Between Thuringia and the other German states, the balance is negative: In 2012, Thuringia lost 6,500 persons to other federal states, the most to
Bavaria Bavaria (; German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language ...

Bavaria
,
Saxony Saxony (german: Sachsen ; Upper Saxon Upper Saxon (german: Obersächsisch, ; ) is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part o ...

Saxony
,
Hesse Hesse (, , ) or Hessia (, ; german: Hessen ), officially the State of Hessen (german: links=no, Land Hessen), is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U. ...
and Berlin. Only with
Saxony-Anhalt Saxony-Anhalt (german: Sachsen-Anhalt ; nds, Sassen-Anholt) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper) ...

Saxony-Anhalt
and Brandenburg the balance is positive. The international migration is fluctuating heavily. In 2009, the balance was +700, in 2010 +1,800, in 2011 +2,700 and in 2012 +4,800. The most important countries of origin of the Thuringia migrants from 2008 to 2012 were Poland (+1,700), Romania (+1,200), Afghanistan (+1,100) and Serbia/Montenegro/Kosovo (+1,000), whereas the balance was negative with Switzerland (−2,800) and Austria (−900).


Vital statistics

*Births January–November 2016 = *Births January–November 2017 = *Deaths January–November 2016 = *Deaths January–November 2017 = *Natural growth January–November 2016 = *Natural growth January–November 2017 =


Cities, towns and villages

Of the approximately 850 municipalities of Thuringia, 126 are classed as towns (within a district) or cities (forming their own urban district). Most of the towns are small with a population of less than 10,000; only the ten biggest ones have a population greater than 30,000. The first towns emerged during the 12th century, whereas the latest ones received town status only in the 20th century. Today, all municipalities within districts are equal in law, whether they are towns or villages. Independent cities (i.e. urban districts) have greater powers (the same as any district) than towns within a district. * Average annual change in percent within the last three years (13 December 2009 to 31 December 2012), adjusted from incorporations and the 2011 Census results.


Religion

Since the
Protestant Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity Western Christianity is one of two sub-divisions of Christianity Christianity is an Abra ...
, the most prominent Christian denomination in Thuringia has been Lutheranism. During the GDR period, church membership was discouraged and has continued shrinking since the reunification in 1990. Today over two thirds of the population is non-religious. The Protestant Evangelical Church in Germany has had the largest number of members in the state, adhered to by 20.8% of the population in 2018. Members of the Catholic Church formed 7.6% of the population, while 71.6% of Thuringians were non-religious or adhere to other faiths. The highest Protestant concentrations are in the small villages of southern and western Thuringia, whereas the bigger cities are even more non-religious (up to 88% in
Gera Gera is, with around 93,000 inhabitants, the third-largest city of Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , be ...
). Catholic regions are
Eichsfeld The Eichsfeld ( or ; English: ''Oak-field'') is a historical region in the southeast of the state of Lower Saxony (which is called "Untereichsfeld" = lower Eichsfeld) and northwest of the state of Thuringia ("Obereichsfeld" = upper Eichsfeld) in th ...

Eichsfeld
in the northwest and parts of the Rhön Mountains around Geisa in the southwest. Protestant church membership is shrinking rapidly, whereas the Catholic Church is somewhat more stable because of Catholic migration from Poland, Southern Europe and West Germany. Other religions play no significant role in Thuringia. There are only a few thousand Muslims (largely migrants) and about 750 Jews (mostly migrants from Russia) living in Thuringia. Furthermore, there are some Orthodox communities of Eastern European migrants and some traditional Protestant Free churches in Thuringia without any societal influence. The Protestant parishes of Thuringia belong to the Evangelical Church in Central Germany or to the Evangelical Church of Hesse Electorate-Waldeck (Schmalkalden region). Catholic dioceses are Roman Catholic Diocese of Erfurt, Erfurt (most of Thuringia), Roman Catholic Diocese of Dresden-Meissen, Dresden-Meissen (eastern parts) and Roman Catholic Diocese of Fulda, Fulda (Rhön around Geisa in the very west). File:Evangelisch Thüringen.png, EKD Protestant membership in 2011 (municipalities) File:Katholisch Thüringen.png, Catholic membership in 2011 (municipalities)


Politics


List of Ministers-President of Thuringia


October 2019 state election

, - bgcolor=#E9E9E9 , - , colspan=9 align=center, , - ! colspan="2" , Party ! Votes ! % ! +/- ! Seats ! +/- ! Seats % , - , style="width: 1px" bgcolor= align="center" , , align="left" , The Left (Germany), The Left (Die Linke) , align="right" , 343,780 , align="right" , 31.0 , align="right" , 2.8 , align="right" , 29 , align="right" , 1 , align="right" , 32.2 , - , style="width: 1px" bgcolor= align="center" , , align="left" , Alternative for Germany (AfD) , align="right" , 259,382 , align="right" , 23.4 , align="right" , 12.8 , align="right" , 22 , align="right" , 11 , align="right" , 24.4 , - , style="width: 1px" bgcolor= align="center" , , align="left" , Christian Democratic Union of Germany, Christian Democratic Union (CDU) , align="right" , 241,049 , align="right" , 21.7 , align="right" , 11.8 , align="right" , 21 , align="right" , 13 , align="right" , 23.3 , - , style="width: 1px" bgcolor= align="center" , , align="left" , Social Democratic Party of Germany, Social Democratic Party (SPD) , align="right" , 90,987 , align="right" , 8.2 , align="right" , 4.2 , align="right" , 8 , align="right" , 5 , align="right" , 8.9 , - , style="width: 1px" bgcolor= align="center" , , align="left" , Alliance 90/The Greens (Grünen) , align="right" , 57,474 , align="right" , 5.2 , align="right" , 0.5 , align="right" , 5 , align="right" , 1 , align="right" , 5.6 , - , style="width: 1px" bgcolor= align="center" , , align="left" , Free Democratic Party (Germany), Free Democratic Party (FDP) , align="right" , 55,493 , align="right" , 5.0 , align="right" , 2.5 , align="right" , 5 , align="right" , 5 , align="right" , 5.6 , - ! colspan=8, , - , style="width: 1px" bgcolor= align="center" , , align="left" , National Democratic Party of Germany , align="right" , 6,044 , align="right" , 0.5 , align="right" , 3.1 , align="right" , 0 , align="right" , ±0 , align="right" , 0 , - , style="width: 1px" bgcolor= align="center" , , align="left" , Others , align="right" , 54,179 , align="right" , 4.9 , align="right" , 1.4 , align="right" , 0 , align="right" , ±0 , align="right" , 0 , - ! align="right" colspan=2, Valid votes ! align="right" , 1,108,388 ! align="right" , 98.8 ! align="right" , 0.2 ! align="right" , ! align="right" , ! align="right" , , - ! align="right" colspan=2, Blank and invalid votes ! align="right" , 13,426 ! align="right" , 1.2 ! align="right" , 0.2 ! align="right" , ! align="right" , ! align="right" , , - ! align="right" colspan=2, Total ! align="right" , 1,121,814 ! align="right" , 100.0 ! align="right" , ! align="right" , 90 ! align="right" , 1 ! align="right" , , - ! colspan="2" , Electorate / voter turnout !1,729,242 !64.9 !12.2 ! ! ! , - , colspan=9 align=left , Source
Thüringer Landesamt für Statistik


Local government

Thuringia is divided into 17 districts (''Landkreise''): # Altenburger Land # Eichsfeld (district), Eichsfeld # Gotha (district), Gotha # Greiz (district), Greiz # Hildburghausen (district), Hildburghausen # Ilm-Kreis # Kyffhäuserkreis # Nordhausen (district), Nordhausen # Saale-Holzland-Kreis # Saale-Orla-Kreis # Saalfeld-Rudolstadt # Schmalkalden-Meiningen # Sömmerda (district), Sömmerda # Sonneberg (district), Sonneberg # Unstrut-Hainich-Kreis # Wartburgkreis # Weimarer Land Furthermore, there are five urban districts: *
Erfurt Erfurt ( , ; ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller ...

Erfurt
(EF) *
Gera Gera is, with around 93,000 inhabitants, the third-largest city of Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , be ...
(G) *
Jena Jena (; ) is a German city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Rou ...

Jena
(J) *
Suhl Suhl () is a city in Thuringia, Germany, located SW of Erfurt, NE of Würzburg and N of Nuremberg. With its 37,000 inhabitants, it is the smallest of the six urban districts within Thuringia. Together with its northern neighbour-town Zella- ...

Suhl
(SHL) *
Weimar Weimar (; la, Vimaria or Vinaria) is a city in the federal state of Thuringia, Germany. It is located in Central Germany (cultural area), Central Germany between Erfurt in the west and Jena in the east, approximately southwest of Leipzig, nor ...

Weimar
(WE)


Economy

Thuringia's economy is marked by the economic transition that happened after the German reunification and led to the closure of most of the factories within the Land. The unemployment rate reached a peak in 2005. Since that year, the economy has seen an upturn and the general economic situation has improved.


Agriculture and forestry

Agriculture and forestry have declined in importance over the decades. Nevertheless, they are more important than in the most other areas of Germany, especially within rural regions. 54% of Thuringia's territory is in agricultural use. The fertile basins such as the large
Thuringian Basin The Thuringian Basin (german: Thüringer Becken) is a depression (geology), depression in the central and northwest part of Thuringia in Germany which is crossed by several rivers, the longest of which is the Unstrut. It stretches about from north ...
or the smaller
Goldene AueThe Goldene Aue (German: "golden meadow") is a valley in eastern Germany, in the states Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt. It is situated between the towns Nordhausen, Thuringia, Nordhausen in the west, and Sangerhausen in the east. It is bordered by the m ...
, Orlasenke and Osterland are in intensive use for growing cereals, vegetables, fruits and energy crops. Important products are apples, strawberries, cherries and plums in the fruit sector, cabbage, potatoes, cauliflower, tomatoes (grown in greenhouses), onions, cucumbers and asparagus in the vegetable sector, as well as maize, rapeseed, wheat, barley and sugar beets in the crop sector. Meat production and processing is also an important activity, with swine, cattle, chickens and turkeys in focus. Furthermore, there are many milk and cheese producers, as well as laying hens. Trout and carp are traditionally bred in aquaculture in many villages. Most agricultural enterprises are large cooperatives, founded as Landwirtschaftliche Produktionsgenossenschaft during the GDR period, and meat producers are part of multinational companies. Traditional private peasant agriculture is an exception, as is organic farming. Thuringia's only wine-growing district is around Bad Sulza north of
Weimar Weimar (; la, Vimaria or Vinaria) is a city in the federal state of Thuringia, Germany. It is located in Central Germany (cultural area), Central Germany between Erfurt in the west and Jena in the east, approximately southwest of Leipzig, nor ...

Weimar
and
Jena Jena (; ) is a German city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Rou ...

Jena
along the Ilm (Thuringia), Ilm and
Saale The Saale (), also known as the Saxon Saale (german: Sächsische Saale) and Thuringian Saale (german: Thüringische Saale), is a river in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin ...

Saale
valley. Its production is marketed as Saale-Unstrut wines. Forestry plays an important role in Thuringia because 32% of the Thuringian territory is forested. The most common trees are spruce, pine and beech. There are many wood and pulp-paper factories near the forested areas.


Industry and mining

Like most other regions of central and southern Germany, Thuringia has a significant industrial sector reaching back to the mid-19th-century industrialisation. The economic transition after the German reunification in 1990 led to the closure of most large-scale factories and companies, leaving small and medium-sized ones to dominate the manufacturing sector. Well-known industrial centres are
Jena Jena (; ) is a German city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Rou ...

Jena
(a world centre for optical instruments with companies like Carl Zeiss AG, Carl Zeiss, Schott AG, Schott and Jenoptik) and Eisenach, where BMW started its car production in the 1920s and an Opel factory is based today. The most important industrial branches today are engineering and metalworking, vehicle production and food industries. Especially the small and mid-sized towns in central and southwestern Thuringia (e.g. Arnstadt, Schmalkalden and Ohrdruf, Thuringia, Ohrdruf) are highly industrialised, whereas there are fewer industrial companies in the northern and eastern parts of the Land. Traditional industries like production of glass, porcelain and toys collapsed during the economic crises between 1930 and 1990. Mining was important in Thuringia since the later Middle Ages, especially within the mining towns of the Thuringian Forest such as Schmalkalden,
Suhl Suhl () is a city in Thuringia, Germany, located SW of Erfurt, NE of Würzburg and N of Nuremberg. With its 37,000 inhabitants, it is the smallest of the six urban districts within Thuringia. Together with its northern neighbour-town Zella- ...

Suhl
and Ilmenau. Following the industrial revolution, the old iron, copper and silver mines declined because the competition from imported metal was too strong. On the other hand, the late 19th century brought new types of mines to Thuringia: the lignite surface mining around Meuselwitz near
Altenburg Altenburg () is a city in Thuringia, Germany, located south of Leipzig, west of Dresden and east of Erfurt. It is the capital of the Altenburger Land district and part of a polycentric old-industrial textile and metal production region betw ...

Altenburg
in the east of the Land started in the 1870s, and two potash mining districts were established around 1900. These are the ''Südharzrevier'' in the north of the state, between Bischofferode in the west and Roßleben in the east with Sondershausen at its centre, and the ''Werrarevier'' on the Hessian border around Vacha, Germany, Vacha and Bad Salzungen in the west. Together, they accounted for a significant part of the world's potash production in the mid-20th century. After the reunification, the ''Südharzrevier'' was abandoned, whereas K+S took over the mines in the ''Werrarevier''. Between 1950 and 1990, uranium mining was also important to cover the Soviet Union's need for this metal. The centre was Ronneburg, Thuringia, Ronneburg near
Gera Gera is, with around 93,000 inhabitants, the third-largest city of Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , be ...
in eastern Thuringia and the operating company Wismut (mining company), Wismut was under direct Soviet control.


General economic parameters

The GDP of Thuringia is below the national average, in line with the other former East German Lands. Until 2004, Thuringia was one of the weakest regions within the European Union. The accession of several new countries, the crisis in southern Europe and the sustained economic growth in Germany since 2005 has brought the Thuringian GDP close to the EU average since then. The high economic subsidies granted by the federal government and the EU after 1990 are being reduced gradually and will end around 2020. The unemployment rate reached its peak of 17.1% in 2005. Since then, it has decreased to 5.3% in 2019, which is only slightly above the national average. The decrease is caused on the one hand by the emergence of new jobs and on the other by a marked decrease in the working-age population, caused by emigration and low birth rates for decades. The wages in Thuringia are low compared to rich bordering Lands like
Hesse Hesse (, , ) or Hessia (, ; german: Hessen ), officially the State of Hessen (german: links=no, Land Hessen), is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U. ...
and
Bavaria Bavaria (; German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language ...

Bavaria
. Therefore, many Thuringians are working in other German Lands and even in Austria and Switzerland as weekly commuters. Nevertheless, the demographic transition in Thuringia leads to a lack of workers in some sectors. External immigration into Thuringia has been encouraged by the government since about 2010 to counter this problem. The economic progress is quite different between the regions of Thuringia. The big cities along the Bundesautobahn 4, A4 motorway such as
Erfurt Erfurt ( , ; ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller ...

Erfurt
,
Jena Jena (; ) is a German city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Rou ...

Jena
and Eisenach and their surroundings are booming, whereas nearly all the rural regions, especially in the north and east, have little economic impetus and employment, which is a big issue in regional planning. Young people in these areas often have to commute long distances, and many emigrate soon after finishing school. The unemployment rate stood at 5.3% in 2019 and was higher than the German average.


Tourism

Tourism is an important branch of the economy. Thuringia has a number of well known destinations: Wartburg, Wartburg castle (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Weimar, Classical Weimar (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar, Dessau and Bernau, Bauhaus Weimar (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Thuringian Forest, Oberhof or
Rennsteig The () is a ridge walk as well as an historical boundary path in the Thuringian Forest, Thuringian Highland and Franconian Forest in Central Germany (cultural area), Central Germany. The long-distance trail runs for about from and the valley ...

Rennsteig
(ridge walk). City tourism with the centers of Erfurt, Weimar, Jena, Eisenach and Mühlhausen is experiencing dynamic growth. 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. File:Wartburg Eisenach DSCN3512.jpg, Wartburg File:Goethe Schiller Weimar.jpg, Goethe–Schiller Monument in
Weimar Weimar (; la, Vimaria or Vinaria) is a city in the federal state of Thuringia, Germany. It is located in Central Germany (cultural area), Central Germany between Erfurt in the west and Jena in the east, approximately southwest of Leipzig, nor ...

Weimar
File:Falkenstein Thüringen.jpg, Thuringian Forest File:Schanzenanlage im Kanzlersgrund bei Oberhof.jpg, Oberhof File:Erfurter Dom von Oben 08.jpg,
Erfurt Erfurt ( , ; ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller ...

Erfurt
skyline File:Kraemerbruecke und Aegidienkirche Erfurt 2017.jpg, Krämerbrücke in
Erfurt Erfurt ( , ; ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller ...

Erfurt
File:Muehlhausen Marienkirche.jpg, Oldtown of
Mühlhausen Mühlhausen () is a city in the north-west of Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , being the sixth sma ...

Mühlhausen
File:Schloss Friedenstein Gotha 2.JPG, Friedenstein Palace, Gotha


Infrastructure


Transport

As Germany's most central state, Thuringia is an important hub of transit traffic. The transportation infrastructure was in very poor condition after the GDR period. Since 1990, many billions of Euros have been invested to improve the condition of roads and railways within Thuringia. During the 1930s, the first two Autobahn, motorways were built across the Land, the Bundesautobahn 4, A4 motorway as an important east–west connection in central Germany and the main link between Berlin and south-west Germany, and the Bundesautobahn 9, A9 motorway as the main north–south route in eastern Germany, connecting Berlin with Munich. The A4 runs from Frankfurt in
Hesse Hesse (, , ) or Hessia (, ; german: Hessen ), officially the State of Hessen (german: links=no, Land Hessen), is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U. ...
via Eisenach, Gotha,
Erfurt Erfurt ( , ; ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller ...

Erfurt
,
Weimar Weimar (; la, Vimaria or Vinaria) is a city in the federal state of Thuringia, Germany. It is located in Central Germany (cultural area), Central Germany between Erfurt in the west and Jena in the east, approximately southwest of Leipzig, nor ...

Weimar
,
Jena Jena (; ) is a German city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Rou ...

Jena
and
Gera Gera is, with around 93,000 inhabitants, the third-largest city of Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , be ...
to Dresden in
Saxony Saxony (german: Sachsen ; Upper Saxon Upper Saxon (german: Obersächsisch, ; ) is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part o ...

Saxony
, connecting Thuringia's most important cities. At Hermsdorf, Thuringia, Hermsdorf junction it is connected with the A9. Both highways were widened from four to six lanes (three each way) after 1990, including some extensive re-routing in the Eisenach and Jena areas. Furthermore, three new motorways were built during the 1990s and 2000s. The Bundesautobahn 71, A71 crosses the Land in southwest–northeast direction, connecting Würzburg in
Bavaria Bavaria (; German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language ...

Bavaria
via Meiningen,
Suhl Suhl () is a city in Thuringia, Germany, located SW of Erfurt, NE of Würzburg and N of Nuremberg. With its 37,000 inhabitants, it is the smallest of the six urban districts within Thuringia. Together with its northern neighbour-town Zella- ...

Suhl
, Ilmenau, Arnstadt, Erfurt and Sömmerda with Sangerhausen and Halle (Saale), Halle in
Saxony-Anhalt Saxony-Anhalt (german: Sachsen-Anhalt ; nds, Sassen-Anholt) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper) ...

Saxony-Anhalt
. The crossing of the Thuringian Forest by the A71 has been one of Germany's most expensive motorway segments with various tunnels (including Germany's longest road tunnel, the Rennsteig Tunnel) and large bridges. The Bundesautobahn 73, A73 starts at the A71 south of Erfurt in Suhl and runs south towards Nuremberg in Bavaria. The Bundesautobahn 38, A38 is another west–east connection in the north of Thuringia running from Göttingen in
Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state The Federal Republic of Germany, as a federal state, consists of sixteen partly sovereign federated states (german: Land (state), plural (st ...
via Heilbad Heiligenstadt, Heiligenstadt and
NordhausenNordhausen may refer to: * Nordhausen (district), a district in Thuringia, Germany ** Nordhausen, Thuringia, a city in the district **Nordhausen station, the railway station in the city **Free Imperial City of Nordhausen, a free imperial city of the ...
to
Leipzig Leipzig (, ; Upper Saxon: ) is the most populous city in the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony. With a population of 605,407 inhabitants as of 2021 (1.1 million residents in the larger urban zone), it surpasses the Saxon c ...

Leipzig
in Saxony. Furthermore, there is a dense network of Bundesstraße, federal highways complementing the motorway network. The upgrading of federal highways is prioritised in the federal trunk road programme 2015 (''Bundesverkehrswegeplan'' 2015). Envisaged projects include upgrades of the Bundesstraße 247, B247 from Gotha to Leinefelde to improve
Mühlhausen Mühlhausen () is a city in the north-west of Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , being the sixth sma ...

Mühlhausen
's connection to the national road network, the Bundesstraße 19, B19 from Eisenach to Meiningen to improve access to Bad Salzungen and Schmalkalden, and the Bundesstraße 88, B88 and Bundesstraße 281, B281 for strengthening the Saalfeld/Rudolstadt region. The first railways in Thuringia had been built in the 1840s and the network of main lines was finished around 1880. By 1920, many branch lines had been built, giving Thuringia one of the densest rail networks in the world before World War II with about 2,500 km of track. Between 1950 and 2000 most of the branch lines were abandoned, reducing Thuringia's network by half compared to 1940. On the other hand, most of the main lines were refurbished after 1990, resulting in improved speed of travel. The most important railway lines at present are the Thuringian Railway, connecting Halle (Saale), Halle and
Leipzig Leipzig (, ; Upper Saxon: ) is the most populous city in the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony. With a population of 605,407 inhabitants as of 2021 (1.1 million residents in the larger urban zone), it surpasses the Saxon c ...

Leipzig
via
Weimar Weimar (; la, Vimaria or Vinaria) is a city in the federal state of Thuringia, Germany. It is located in Central Germany (cultural area), Central Germany between Erfurt in the west and Jena in the east, approximately southwest of Leipzig, nor ...

Weimar
,
Erfurt Erfurt ( , ; ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller ...

Erfurt
, Gotha and Eisenach with Frankfurt and Kassel and the Saal Railway from Halle/Leipzig via
Jena Jena (; ) is a German city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Rou ...

Jena
and Saalfeld to Nuremberg. The former has an hourly Intercity-Express, ICE/Intercity (Deutsche Bahn), IC service from Dresden to Frankfurt while the latter is served hourly by ICE trains from Berlin to Munich. In 2017, a new high speed line will be opened, diverting long-distance services from these mid-19th century lines. Both ICE routes will then use the Erfurt–Leipzig/Halle high-speed railway, and the Berlin-Munich route will continue via the Nuremberg–Erfurt high-speed railway. Only the segment west of Erfurt of the Frankfurt-Dresden line will continue to be used by ICE trains after 2017, with an increased line speed of 200 km/h (currently 160 km/h). Erfurt Hauptbahnhof, Erfurt's central station, which was completely rebuilt for this purpose in the 2000s (decade), will be the new connection between both ICE lines. The most important regional railway lines in Thuringia are the Neudietendorf–Ritschenhausen railway from Erfurt to Würzburg and Meiningen, the Weimar–Gera railway from Erfurt to Chemnitz, the Sangerhausen–Erfurt railway from Erfurt to Magdeburg, the Gotha–Leinefelde railway from Erfurt to Göttingen, the Halle–Kassel railway from Halle via
NordhausenNordhausen may refer to: * Nordhausen (district), a district in Thuringia, Germany ** Nordhausen, Thuringia, a city in the district **Nordhausen station, the railway station in the city **Free Imperial City of Nordhausen, a free imperial city of the ...
to Kassel and the Leipzig–Hof railway from Leipzig via
Altenburg Altenburg () is a city in Thuringia, Germany, located south of Leipzig, west of Dresden and east of Erfurt. It is the capital of the Altenburger Land district and part of a polycentric old-industrial textile and metal production region betw ...

Altenburg
to Zwickau and Hof, Bavaria, Hof. Most regional and local lines have hourly service, but some run only every other hour. A few small airports are in Thuringia. In public transport is Erfurt–Weimar Airport, used for charter flights to the Mediterranean and other holiday destinations. In private flights, Leipzig–Altenburg Airport is a further key airport. International hub airports are Frankfurt Airport, Berlin Brandenburg Airport and Munich Airport in adjacent states. Thuringia is the only state without barge or ship waterways; its rivers are too small to be navigable to them.


Energy and water supply

The traditional energy supply of Thuringia is lignite, mined in the bordering Leipzig region. Since 2000, the importance of environmentally unfriendly lignite combustion has declined in favour of renewable energies, which reached an amount of 40% (in 2013), and more clean gas combustion, often carried out as Cogeneration in the municipal power stations. The most important forms of renewable energies are Wind power and Biomass, followed by Solar energy and Hydroelectricity. Furthermore, Thuringia hosts two big Pumped-storage hydroelectricity, pumped storage stations: the Goldisthal Pumped Storage Station and the Hohenwarte Dam. The water supply is granted by the big dams, like the Leibis-Lichte Dam, within the Thuringian Forest and the Thuringian Highland, making a drinking water exporter of Thuringia.


Health

Health care provision in Thuringia improved after 1990, as did the level of general health. Life expectancy rose, nevertheless it is still a bit lower than the German average. This is caused by a relatively unhealthy lifestyle of the Thuringians, especially in high consumption of grains, industrial seed oils, refined carbohydrates and alcohol, which led to significant higher rates of obesity compared to the German average. Health care in Thuringia is currently undergoing a concentration process. Many smaller hospitals in the rural towns are closing, whereas the bigger ones in centres like
Jena Jena (; ) is a German city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Rou ...

Jena
and
Erfurt Erfurt ( , ; ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller ...

Erfurt
get enlarged. Overall, there is an oversupply of hospital beds, caused by rationalisation processes in the German health care system, so that many smaller hospitals generate losses. On the other hand, there is a lack of family doctors, especially in rural regions with increased need of health care provision because of overageing.


Education

In Germany, the educational system is part of the sovereignty of the Länder; therefore each Land has its own school and college system.


School system

The Thuringian school system was developed after the reunification in 1990, combining some elements of the former GDR school system with the
Bavaria Bavaria (; German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language ...

Bavaria
n school system. Most German school rankings attest that Thuringia has one of the most successful education systems in Germany, resulting in high-quality outcomes. Early-years education is quite common in Thuringia. Since the 1950s, nearly all children have been using the service, whereas early-years education is less developed in western Germany. Its inventor Friedrich Fröbel lived in Thuringia and founded the world's first Kindergartens there in the 19th century. The Thuringian primary school takes four years and most primary schools are all-day schools offering optional extracurricular activities in the afternoon. At the age of ten, pupils are separated according to aptitude and proceed to either the Gymnasium (Germany), Gymnasium or the Regelschule. The former leads to the Abitur exam after a further eight years and prepares for higher education, while the latter has a more vocational focus and finishes with exams after five or six years, comparable to the Hauptschule and Realschule found elsewhere in Germany.


Universities

The German higher education system comprises two forms of academic institutions: university, universities and polytechnics (Fachhochschule). The
University of Jena The University of Jena, officially the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (german: Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, abbreviated FSU, shortened form ''Uni Jena''), is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the prac ...
is the biggest amongst Thuringia's four universities and offers nearly every discipline. It was founded in 1558, and today has 21,000 students. The second-largest is the Technische Universität Ilmenau with 7,000 students, founded in 1894, which offers many technical disciplines such as engineering and mathematics. The
University of Erfurt The University of Erfurt (german: Universität Erfurt) is a public university located in Erfurt Erfurt ( , ; ) is the capital and largest city in the state of Thuringia, central Germany. It is located in the southern part of the Thuringia ...
, founded in 1392, has 5,000 students today and an emphasis on humanities and teacher training. The Bauhaus University, Weimar, Bauhaus University Weimar with 4,000 students is Thuringia's smallest university, specialising in creative subjects such as architecture and arts. It was founded in 1860 and came to prominence as Germany's leading art school during the inter-war period, the Bauhaus. The polytechnics of Thuringia are based in Fachhochschule Erfurt, Erfurt (4,500 students), Ernst-Abbe-Fachhochschule Jena, Jena (5,000 students), Nordhausen University of Applied Sciences, Nordhausen (2,500 students) and Fachhochschule Schmalkalden, Schmalkalden (3,000 students). In addition, there is a civil service college in Thüringer Fachhochschule für öffentliche Verwaltung, Gotha with 500 students, the Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt, Weimar, College of Music "Franz Liszt" in Weimar (800 students) as well as two private colleges, the Adam-Ries-Fachhochschule in Erfurt (500 students) and the SRH College for nursing and allied medical subjects (''SRH Fachhochschule für Gesundheit Gera'') in Gera (500 students). The most recent institution of higher education in Thuringia is the Duale Hochschule Gera-Eisenach (1400 students), a cooperative state college founded in 2016 through a merger of the colleges (''Berufsakademie'') in Gera and Eisenach.


Research

Thuringia's leading research centre is
Jena Jena (; ) is a German city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Rou ...

Jena
, followed by Ilmenau. Both focus on technology, in particular life sciences and optics at Jena and information technology at Ilmenau.
Erfurt Erfurt ( , ; ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller ...

Erfurt
is a centre of Germany's horticultural research, whereas
Weimar Weimar (; la, Vimaria or Vinaria) is a city in the federal state of Thuringia, Germany. It is located in Central Germany (cultural area), Central Germany between Erfurt in the west and Jena in the east, approximately southwest of Leipzig, nor ...

Weimar
and Gotha with their various archives and libraries are centres of historic and cultural research. Most of the research in Thuringia is publicly funded basic research due to the lack of large companies able to invest significant amounts in applied research, with the notable exception of the optics sector at
Jena Jena (; ) is a German city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Rou ...

Jena
.


Personalities


References


External links


Official government siteTourist website for Thuringia

Official Directory
* *Thuringian flags at *# *# * {{Authority control Thuringia, States of the Weimar Republic NUTS 1 statistical regions of the European Union States and territories established in 1920 1952 disestablishments in East Germany States and territories established in 1990 States of Germany