The Zeiss-Planetarium in Jena, Germany.

© Shamsiya Saydalieva/Shutterstock

Zeiss Planetarium

Thuringian Forest & the Saale Valley

The world’s oldest public planetarium (1926) has a state-of-the-art dome projection system, making it a heavenly setting for cosmic laser shows paying tribute to music legends such as Pink Floyd and Queen, or sending the kids deep into outer space. Show times and pricing varies by program; check the website for details.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Thuringian Forest & the Saale Valley attractions

1. Botanischer Garten

0.12 MILES

Goethe himself planted the ginkgo tree in these wonderful botanic gardens, which have grown since their inception in 1794 to a collection of more than 12…

2. Stadtkirche St Michael


This late-Gothic church, one of the largest in Thuringia, is famous for having Martin Luther’s original bronze gravestone, modelled on a portrait by Lucas…

3. JenTower

0.22 MILES

Built in 1972, but deceptively modern in appearance, the 128m-tall cylindrical JenTower was intended to be a Zeiss research facility, but proved…

4. Stadtmuseum & Kunstsammlung Jena

0.23 MILES

This handsome fachwerk townhouse at the northern end of the market square dates in part to the 13th century. It now houses the Stadtmuseum (city museum)…

5. Rathaus

0.27 MILES

One of the oldest maintained town halls in Germany, Jena’s Rathaus (1377) is graced with an astronomical clock in its baroque tower. Every hour, on the…

6. Universität Jena – Collegium Jenense

0.29 MILES

Jena’s university faculties are spread throughout town, but this was where the university was founded as Collegium Jenense in 1548, in a former Dominican…

7. Optisches Museum

0.43 MILES

Carl Zeiss began building rudimentary microscopes in 1846 and, with Ernst Abbe’s help, developed the first scientific microscope in 1857. Together with…

8. Schillers Gartenhaus

0.45 MILES

Goethe is credited with recruiting Schiller to Jena University in 1789. The poet, playwright and philosopher enjoyed Jena so much that he stayed for 10…