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The Seven Wonders of Jena - Schnapphans and Hanfried

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The Seven Wonders of Jena - Schnapphans and Hanfried

In 1558 the Almermater Jenensis, which was soon to become one of the most famous study places in Germany, was founded. During their stay in the city, graduates from the university, who came from half of Europe, kept a secret from the public in the course of seven curiosities, which were regarded as evidence of their actual presence in Jena.

A Latin-written verse of this time, which enumerates the seven miracles, is: "Ara, caput, draco, mons, pons, vulpecula turris, Weigeliana domus, septem miracula Jenae." Uninitiated could not guess the meaning of this saying. With this unusual means, the university protected itself against high-staplers and fraudsters who could harm the reputation of the university.

On the historical market square, next to the historic gothic town hall (1377-1413) with the Schnapphans is also the Göhre, where the town museum is located. In the market square stands a monument dedicated to Johann Friedrich I of the Magnanimous, the founder of the Jena University. In Jena, he is also called Hanfried.
As the Seven Wonders of Jena (Latin septem miracula Jenae) seven sights of the Thuringian university town Jena are named, five of them still exist today:

Caput - the Schnapphans figure at the town hall clock
The Schnapphans (Hans von Jena) at the town hall snatches at every full hour for a golden ball on a staff holding a pilgrim standing on a pedestal to the left of the clock. The ball is said to be one of the famous Thuringian dumplings. Legend explains that Jena went down when he can grab it. To the right of the clock is an angel holding a bell in his hands in front of his body. This figure moves to a quarter-hour strike. The original Schnapphans can be seen in the towns museum today. At the town hall today "snaps" a copy. Only the very lean (hungry) head can be seen from the Schnapphans at the town hall. Caput is the Latin word for the head.

Draco - the seven-headed dragon
A dragon statue (lat. Draco, the dragon) with seven heads, four legs, two arms and four tails was probably made by Jena students at the beginning of the 17th century, from animal bones, wire and paper mache; Today, Draco can be admired in the city museum.

Ara - the altar underpass of the city church
One of the seven miracles is Ara, a vaulted passage under the altar of the town church, which was then the only gateway to the Cistercian monastery founded in 1301 behind this church. The passage has a height of 3.5 meters and a width of 3 meters. This architectural curiosity in church building is very rare.

Mons - the mountain "Jenzig"
The mountain (lat. Mons) means the most striking mountain of Jena, the Jenzig, a 385-meter-high shell chalk mountain with a prominent bald spot, the so-called nose.

Pons - the old Camsdorfer bridge
The old Camsdorfer Bridge (lat. Pons), a stone arch bridge, consisted of 9 arches from around 1480 and had to give way to a new bridge in 1912. There was also a chapel on it, and it was one of the largest bridges in Germany. The newly built bridge was blown up by German troops in 1945, which was useless, as the Americans had already crossed the Saale in another place. In the SBZ period (1946), the bridge was reconstructed with the help of the Soviet occupiers and therefore bore the name "Bridge of the German-Soviet Friendship". It was the first building of Jena, which was rebuilt after the war.

Vulpecula Turris - The Fox Tower
The Fuchsturm (lat. Vulpecula Turris) is an old Bergfried on the Hausberg, which belonged to the castle Kirchberg.

Weigeliana Domus - the Weigel house
The last miracle of Jena was the Weigeliana Domus, which was demolished in 1898 to widen a street. It stood at the town church and owed its fame to the mathematics professor Erhard Weigel from the 17th century. He had incorporated a lot of technical refinements, including a wine cellar, an elevator with a hoist principle, and long tubes through the entire house, through the roof to observe the stars, even during the day. The "Weigel'sche Haus" was at that time a well-known sight far beyond the city limits. The students used the saying: "Whoever did not see Weigel's house had not been in Jena."

Please read as well:

Medieval wall remains, towers and gates in Jena

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