Wetzlar, one of Germany’s most historic cities, sits on the banks of the River Lahn. The city centre is characterised by timber-framed houses and buildings in the romantic, gothic and baroque styles. The main landmark is the cathedral, towering over narrow streets and steep flights of steps. Goethe spent four unhappy months here in 1772 as a bailiff to the Reichskammergericht, the highest court in the Holy Roman Empire. His unrequited love for Charlotte Buff and several tragic friendships inspired his first novel, ‘The Sorrows of Young Werther’. Many of the timber-framed houses have hardly changed since Goethe’s day, such as the Lottehaus, the Jerusalemhaus and other city locations mentioned in the ‘Sorrows’. Wetzlar began to industrialise in the 19th century, as the Lahn was made navigable and new railway lines were laid. The city became one of Germany’s most important centres for metalworking, precision mechanics and optics. The first commercially available 35mm camera was introduced in Wetzlar in 1924 by the Ernst Leitz optical company. The city has about 54,000 inhabitants today and has kept its outstanding reputation in the field; international optics companies such as Minox and Zeiss have locations here.