🇩🇪 Gera is a city in Thuringia and is the easternmost city of the Thüringer Städtekette, an almost straight string of cities consisting of the six largest Thuringian cities. Gera is the largest city in the Vogtland, and one of its historical capitals. The city lies in the East Thuringian Hill Country, in the wide valley of the White Elster, between Greiz and Leipzig. Gera is located in the Central German Metropolitan Region, approximately 60 km (37 miles) south of Saxony's largest city of Leipzig, 80 km (50 miles) east of Thuringia's capital Erfurt and 120 km (75 miles) west of Saxony's capital .
First mentioned in 995 and developing into a city during the 13th century, Gera has historical significance as being one of the main residences of the Ducal House of Reuss and subsequently the capital of the Principality of Reuss-Gera (1848-1918) and of the People's State of Reuss (1918-1920), one of the many microstates the Thuringian region consisted of, before they were unified to form Thuringia in 1920.
Over the 19th century, Gera became a centre of the textile industry and saw a period of rapid growth. In 1952, the city also became an administrative centre in GDR as one of the capitals of Gera administrative district (Bezirk). In 1990, Gera became part of re-established Thuringia. The loss of its administrative functions as well as its industrial core (caused both by structural change among the European textile industry and the economic system change after the German reunification) precipitated the city's slide into an enduring economic crisis.
Since 1990, many of Gera's buildings have been restored and big urban planning programmes like the Bundesgartenschau 2007 were implemented to stimulate Gera's economy. Sights include some retained buildings of the royal residence epoque and many public and private buildings from the economic heyday between 1870 and 1930.
Agriculture, industry and services Agriculture has some importance in the rural districts of Gera, especially in the northern and eastern city parts. Approximately 57% of the municipal territory is in agricultural use: growing maize, rapeseed and crops as well as pasturing cattle.
The city's economy features industrial machinery (Dagro Gera GmbH), communications (DTKS GmbH, Deutsche Telekom), security locks (Schloßsicherungen Gera GmbH), optics (POG Präzisionsoptik Gera GmbH), electrical equipment (Electronicon Kondensatoren GmbH), and margarine manufacturing (Othüna). Other companies include a compressor manufacturer (Kompressorenwerk Kaeser), a precision-tool maker (SMK-Präzisionsmechanik), and a subsidiary of the construction company Max Bögl. The e-commerce service-provider D+S Europe has a service centre in Gera with several hundred workers, and Rittal, a manufacturer of information-technology enclosures, recently moved from Bad Köstritz to Gera. Some industrial branches operating before 1990 no longer have major importance. Sectors either no longer existing or sharply reduced include those in toolmaking (VEB Wema Union), textiles (VEB Modedruck), textile machinery (VEB Textima), electronic equipment (VEB Elektronik Gera). Other industries that had a presence included VEB Carl Zeiss Jena and a brewery. One important industrial branch had been uranium-ore mining in nearby Ronneburg (Wismut), whereby the region became the Soviet Union's leading uranium supplier. In 2012 Gera had 41 companies with more than 20 workers in the industrial sector, employing 3,400 people and generating an overall turnover of €452 million.
Gera is a supra-centre according to the Central Place Theory in German regional planning. This makes the city a regional centre for retailing, with three major shopping centres: Gera-Arcaden, Amthor-Passage and Elster-Forum. Health services are important, with one of the biggest hospitals in Thuringia, the SRH Waldklinikum.
Gera has a population of over 93,000 people. Gera also forms one of the centres of the wider Central German metropolitan area which has a population of over 4,360,000 people.
Twin Towns – Sister Cities Gera is twinned with: 🇳🇱 Arnhem, Netherlands; 🇺🇸 Fort Wayne, United States; 🇧🇦 Goražde, Bosnia and Herzegovina; 🇫🇮 Kuopio, Finland; 🇷🇺 Pskov, Russia; 🇷🇺 Rostov-on-Don, Russia; 🇫🇷 Saint-Denis, France; 🇵🇱 Skierniewice, Poland; 🇧🇬 Sliven, Bulgaria; 🇷🇴 Timișoara, Romania.