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Jena

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JENA, the next stop east from Weimar, is another university town that hothoused Classicism under Goethe and Schiller. Thereafter the similarities end. If Weimar is all about arts and culture, Jena is a centre of science nurtured over a long history of university research – the town has 23,000 students and one in four of the population is connected with the university. Jena is also less precious about its looks than Weimar – the Altstadt was pounded by the Allies, then GDR urban-planners embarked on some architectural vandalism of their own. Restoration has returned pockets of charm and the setting in a bowl of wooded hills appeals, but neither is the point. Anyone of a scientific mindset will enjoy its museums while the nightlife is only bettered in Thuringia by Erfurt. All Jena’s sights are within easy walking distance from the centre. To attempt the lot in a day, however, you’re best off renting bikes.

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