Delémont

Jura & Three-Lakes

Delémont (German: Delsberg), the capital of the Jura canton, lies between the towns of Basel and Biel in the north west of Switzerland, near the French border. This historic town is embedded in the densely forested, hilly Jurassic landscape. Mediaeval buildings, neat house facades and attractive museums form the townscape of the old town.

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The two town gates of the mediaeval old town, the ‘Porte au Loup’ and the ‘Porte de Porrentruy’, and parts of the former city wall are still in good condition. The squares of the old town are decorated by five monumental Renaissance-style figure fountains dating from the 16th century. The old town is home to the Jurassic Museum of Art and History, the parliament building of the cantonal government as well as the Episcopal Palace.

A 13-km circular path, the "Sentier Auguste Quiquerez" leads from Delémont to Soyhières and then back again to Delémont. The archaeology, flora and fauna, geology as well as ecology of the surrounding region are explained on 30 information panels. Several historic buildings, such as the Vorbourg Castle, are encountered en route. In Bassecourt, a visit to the Museum of Model Aircraft Construction, holding probably the largest collection of model aircraft in the world, shouldn’t be missed. A sculpture trail, the "Balade de Séprais", west of Delémont attracts visitors with its monumental, modern sculptures.

The Swiss Jurassic Arc – the stronghold of precision manufacturing – produces not only watch masterpieces. The Wenger knife factory, which was founded in 1893 in Delémont, is characterised by a spirit of innovation, precision and quality in the manufacture of the genuine Swiss pocket knife.

The small town of Moutier lies 10 km south of Delémont. It is home to the Jurassic Museum of Fine Arts. The illustrated bible of the former Moutier-Grandval Benedictine Monastery today belongs to the British Museum in London. Both the ‘Gorges de Moutier’ and ‘Gorges de Court’ – two nearby gorges – are regarded as natural attractions. Crémines, near Moutier, is home to a small private zoo, the "Siky Ranch", which keeps white tigers, amongst other animals.

When travelling to Basel, it is well worthwhile making a stop in the small historic town of Laufen with its narrow alleyways, intact town gates and so-called "Zeitturm" (clock tower), with its large clock face and astronomical clock.

Highlights

  • Old town of Delémont – Inner town with neat houses, sacral buildings, the Episcopal Palace, town gates and numerous fountains. Awarded the 2006 Wakker Prize by the Swiss Heritage Society.
  • Jurassic Museum of Art and History – the museum in Delémont presents Jurassic history, especially its cultural, but also social, political and economic aspects.
  • Sentier Auguste Quiquerez – themed trail dedicated to the scientist Quiquerez (1801 - 1882). It explains, amongst other things, the archaeology and geology of the region and runs past several castles.
  • Chapelle Notre-Dame du Vorbourg – the oldest shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary – consecrated in 1049 – in the Jura canton. Pilgrimage chapel set on a cliff, high above the narrow valley opening, with beautiful views of Delémont.
  • Glass church windows – the Jura boasts the highest density of modern church windows in Europe, a "regional museum" of glass painting (including in the evangelical church of Delémont).

Top Events

  • Festival Notes d'Equinoxe – musical traditions from around the world coalesce to mark the autumn equinox in the old town of Delémont (September).
  • Discover Delémont ant its surroundings on 34 kilometres of roads closed to traffic - let your legs (by bike, on rollerblades or on foot) do the work (June).

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