Gera is a city in the federal state of the Republic of Thuringia (Germany), located in the valley of the river Weisse-Elster framed by forests. Hera is first mentioned in 995 among the gifts of Emperor Otto III to the church, and in 999 the emperor gives Gera to his sister Adelheid, abbess of Quedlinburg.

Initially, it was a simple market place at the crossroads of trade routes. Reliable evidence of granting the city status to the settlement dates back to 1237. In the Middle Ages, Gera was famous for its cloth production and the mining of copper slates. Since the 16th century, the city of Gera has been the capital of the Principality of Reuss. During the Thirty Years (1618-1648) and Seven Years (1756-1763) Wars, the city was badly damaged by robberies and fires, but September 18, 1780 was the worst day for it. After setting fire to one of the houses in the suburbs, the fire quickly spread to the city territory due to storm wind and drought, 785 out of 897 buildings were destroyed. The “Big Fire” caused a wide public outcry, money was collected throughout Germany for the restoration of the city. At the age of 40 XIX century begins a new stage in the history of Gera.

After the November Revolution of 1918, six Thuringian principalities were liquidated, and in 1920 Gera became part of a new administrative entity – the land of Thuringia.

During World War II, the city was attacked several times by Anglo-American aircraft, and on April 14, 1945, it was occupied by American troops. In July 1945, Gera became part of the Soviet occupation zone, and then – in the GDR. In 1952, another administrative reform was carried out, and the territory of the GDR was divided into 15 districts. Gera became the main city of the district. The district of Gera occupied an area of ​​4004 sq. km., its most important cities were Gera, Greitz, Jena, Rudolstadt, Saalfeld. In the 50-80s. In the 20th century, the city remained an important center for the textile and engineering industries.

Following the reunification of Germany, following free elections on March 18, 1990, five new federal states were created. At the moment Gera is the second city of Thuringia after Erfurt (115.500 inhabitants). In 1994, the area of ​​the city was doubled, and 12 rural communities were included in the city limits. The twenty-nine districts of Gera cover an area of ​​15.164 hectares.

Since 1990, a process of general restructuring of the city’s economy has begun, which has not yet been completed. The main attention is now being paid to the development of machine tools, urban transport, roads and the social sphere. The municipality of Gera is successfully working to create a special urban environment, where the historical center will be combined with modern architecture, roads, pedestrian and green areas.

Many sights testify to Gera’s past. The market square, the historical center, is formed by Renaissance monuments: Simeon – Brunnen (Samson Fountain, 1686), the town hall (1573-1575), the city pharmacy building (1606). Several surviving churches acquaint tourists with various architectural styles: these are the late Gothic churches of St. Trinitate (XIV century) and St. Marien (XV century), the baroque church of St. Salvatore (1717-1720), built of brick in the neo-Gothic style, the church of St. Johann (1881-1884). The residents are especially proud of the preserved fortress towers, deep industrial cellars of the early 18th century for brewing and the Art Nouveau theater building (1902). 

The acquaintance with the history and culture of Gera can be continued in numerous museums: in the house of the famous artist Otto Dix (1891-1969), the history of the city, applied arts, an art gallery located in the building of the Orangery (1729-1732). Now it is impossible to imagine Gera without the famous festivals – the July international open-air theater and the November days of organ music. The economic structure of the city is based on retail trade, enterprises in the manufacturing sector. These are, first of all, industries such as mechanical engineering, the production of metal products, electronics, medical technology, textile finishing and food production. The economic structure of the city is based on retail trade, enterprises in the manufacturing sector. These are, first of all, industries such as mechanical engineering, the production of metal products, electronics, medical technology, textile finishing and food production. The economic structure of the city is based on retail trade, enterprises in the manufacturing sector. These are, first of all, industries such as mechanical engineering, the production of metal products, electronics, medical technology, textile finishing and food production.

Numerous departments and institutions are located in Gera. Among them are the Professional Academy of Thuringia, the Federal Office for Insurance of Employees, and others. In total, there are more than 14 industrial zones in the city. Big investors include Deutsche Telecom AG with fiberglass cable network, one of the most modern cable networks in Germany, Deutsche Post AG (new letter sorting center) and a large bakery. Services to the economic sector are provided by the Eastern Thuringian Chambers and their educational centers: the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Chamber of Crafts, the Thuringian Professional Academy, the Thuringian Construction Bank. Retail trade has been actively developing in recent years. In November 1998, the Gera-Arkaden shopping complex was opened in the city center with a trading area of ​​more than 25 thousand square meters as well as Furniture House “Rieger.

With around 95,000 inhabitants, Gera is the third largest city in Thuringia. About 450,000 people live in the catchment area of ​​the East Thuringian regional center. Amazon, with a logistics center and around 2,000 employees, and the Raben Logistics Group have recently decided in favor of Gera as a company location.

A strong economy lies in its historical roots: Up until 1990, Gera was an important industrial location for the textile machine construction, textile industry, mechanical engineering, electronics and precision engineering/optics sectors and environmental technology.

Only 20 kilometers from the Hermsdorfer Kreuz, the intersection of the A9 Berlin – Munich and the A4 Dresden – Frankfurt/Main traffic axes, Gera-Leumnitz has its own airfield. The science and business locations of Erfurt, Weimar, Ilmenau, Jena in Thuringia and Leipzig, Halle and Chemnitz in Saxony are close by.

More than 40 modern, technology-oriented companies are developing Gera as a technology location. They benefit from good wage and labor costs, reasonable space and real estate prices and low supply and disposal costs. In Gera, as a certified family-friendly community, skilled workers will find very good conditions for day-care centers and schools, for housing, leisure time and an extensive range of cultural activities ranging from a 5-section theater to an art collection, museums, numerous sports facilities and opportunities.

Gera has been a SMARTCity model city since July 2019 and is being funded by the Federal Ministry of Housing, Urban Development and Construction for digital modernization with around 7.5 million euros. Over 100 municipalities from all over Germany had applied and Gera, along with twelve other projects, was awarded the contract. The model project will run for seven years. The basic goal is to make Gera sustainable and future-proof by using modern technologies.

With a high level of citizen participation – represented by working groups on various topics (including the Energy & Environment Working Group, the Education and Culture Working Group and the Urban Planning, Urban Development and Transport Working Group) – the strategy for the implementation phase planned for five years was developed and, with the city council decision of December 14, 2021, now also fixed.

The objectives defined included the interlocking of forward-looking science and innovative business, diverse educational and cultural offerings for all phases of life and the establishment of new forms of mobility and thus resource efficiency. In this context, the use of “smart” technologies as a basis for efficient control of planning measures is also in focus. Examples include flood prevention and protection or traffic flow planning using sensors. Targeted measures are also intended to lay the foundation for the “digital town hall” and thus for barrier-free access to administrative services.

Furthermore, fourteen so-called pilot projects have been implemented since the end of February 2021, some of which are already generating direct benefits, others serve as a basis for further development within the framework of the implementation projects and a third group includes studies and tests of possible approaches for further projects and their evaluation.

The SMARTCity strategy as a living document forms the basis for the further dynamic strategy and implementation process in connection with the testing of pilot projects. It is a prerequisite and planning basis for goal-oriented action in the context of the implementation phase and thus the controlled and successful development into a smart city model city.

Gera presents itself as a lively city with innovative companies, a high concentration of service providers and cultural attractions. The birthplace of the expressionist Otto Dix, the Geraer Höhler, a large number of historic villas or the Altenburg-Gera theatre, the only five-genre theater in Thuringia, offer the right program for everyone.

As a regional center, Gera has developed into an important service center and significant shopping center in the region. Business-related educational institutions, such as the private university of applied sciences for health, the vocational academy with bachelor’s degrees in business administration, practical computer science, social work, electrical engineering/automation technology, business informatics, East Thuringia Chamber of Commerce with a wide range of professional qualifications and further training opportunities form the in Gera specialists for tomorrow. Make your inquiry today to explore your Gera business opportunities together with Project Alpa Ost EU.



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