The Saale-Orla-District has been formed by merging the former districts of Lobenstein, Pößneck and Schleiz with the reform of the Thuringian territory on 1 July 1994
Documented history began with the settling of Slovanic Sorbs in this region in the 9th century.
In the 12th century the old Frankonian dynasty of the Lobdeburg family owned the whole territory. The gigantic domain decayed in the late Middle Ages.
From the 14th century onwards several lines of the powerful and widespread princes of the Reuß dynasty dominated the region around the former districts of Lobenstein and Schleiz (called Oberland) on the foothills of the East-Thuringian Slate Mountains. The Reuß dynasty had their family roots and origins in the reeves of The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation (Thuringian Vogtland).
Today`s Saale-Orla-District hosts a big part of the “Reußische Fürstenstraße”, a historic and picturesque route named after the Reuß dynasty. Since 1992 this route has been highly interesting. Now locals and tourists alike can indulge in the natural and cultural beauties along the Fürstenstraße that leads them through the Reuß dynasties, whose males all were called Heinrich by their first name.
In the coat of arms of the Saale-Orla-District the Reuß dynasty is represented by the golden, red embattled lion with a crown that is borrowed from their lineage coat of arms.
The black lion opposite the lion with a crown is taken from the coat of arms of the margraves of Meißen who merged in the dynasty called Ernestinische Wettiner. Later the dukes and grand dukes of Saxony-Meiningen and Saxony Weimar-Eisenach originated out of this line. The dukes owned substantial parts of the Orla valley since the 16th century. When in 1952 the district of Pößneck was founded along the Orla valley, a completely new administrative structure was formed. A remarkable step in history as this region has always been heavily split between the Saxon, Prussian and the state of the Reuß dynasty and has never before formed its own administrative unit.
Therefore, the roots of the coat of arms of the Saale-Orla-District reach deep in the national history. The two lions in the upper part represent the new administrative district as a whole by standing for the Oberland and the Orla valley. In its base two silver waves symbolize the rivers Saale and Orla which provide the name of the administrative district and significantly form the landscape.