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Jura is one of Switzerland's 26 cantons, founded as the newest canton as of 1979.[3] Throughout its history, Jura has been influenced by different nations, namely France and Germany. However, there is a long tradition of the French language in the region as to this day a prevailing number of people speak French.[4] The French influence in the region is not only historical but also geographical, as Jura is surrounded by France on the north, west, and southwest. Within Switzerland's borders, Jura is neighbored by the Bern canton to the south and by the Basel-Landschaft and Solothurn cantons to the east.[2] From a geographic point of view, the predominant feature of the region is the Jura mountains, found in the southern part of the territory. Through the northern part of the canton stretches the Jura plateau.[3] Reportedly, the name of the canton and the mountain range originates from the term 'Jurassic,' a prehistoric geological era. The collocation has been made presumably for the extensive paleontological finds in the Jura region from that time period.[9] Beyond excavations and museums, there's a range of outdoor activities the canton offers, with hiking, cycling, horseback riding, and canoeing being some of the options.[4] The capital city, Delémont, is mainly visited for its historical and cultural heritage. It is also a starting point for several nature trails.[8]

What Jura is known for

The name of the canton, Jura, is derived from the word 'Jurassic,' a prehistoric era that occurred approximately 150 and 200 million years ago. At that time, the Jura region was covered by the waters of a shallow tropical sea. Prehistoric animal and plant species, such as coral reefs, sea urchins, bivalves, ammonoids, fish, turtles, and crocodiles inhabited shallow waters. At the same time, dinosaurs presumably lived ashore, leaving footprints in today's Jura territory. In the city of Porrentruy is a museum called Jurassica, which stores and preserves numerous paleontological excavations from the Jura territory. The display reproduces the submarine landscape of the Jurassic era.[9] Additionally, outside the city, there is a satellite location consisting of an excavation site where tourists can try and dig up their own fossils.[10] However, the Jurassic theme can be found across the canton as well. In the southern parts of Jura, near the state borders with France, is the Réclère Préhisto-Parc, with 45 life-size reproductions of Jurassic species and dinosaurs within the park. [11]
Delémont, Jura's capital city, is one of the historical settlements found within the canton's borders. Several historical landmarks tend to draw tourists' attention. Some of them are the town hall, the church of St. Marcel, the Delémont Castle, the former summer residence of the Prince-Bishop of Base, and two well-preserved medieval city gates, "Porte au Loup" and the "Porte de Porrentruy." Beyond the historical and cultural heritage the city can offer, Delémont is also a starting point of a few hiking, cycling, and biking trails, allowing tourists to explore Jura's nature. One such trail is called "Balade de Séprais," a sculpture trail that attracts visitors with its modern sculptures found along the path. Another presumably more typical trail is a 13 km circular route called "Sentier Auguste Quiquerez," which showcases Jura's archaeology, flora, fauna, and geology.[8] In general, there's a considerable number of activities Jura may provide. In summer, such recreation includes hiking, cycling, horseback riding, canoeing, and paragliding. It is also possible to go snow hiking, cross-country skiing, or tobogganing during the winter.[4]


Jura is located in Romandie, a French-speaking part of Switzerland, at the country's northwestern border, neighboring France to the north, west, and south. The canton is divided into four regions: the Delsberg basin, Ajoie, Franches-Montagnes (German Freiberge), and Clos du Doubs (Jurassic Doubstal).[4] The predominant geographical feature is the Jura mountains, found in the canton's southern part. On the other hand, the Jura plateau comprises the northern portion of the region. The plateau is mostly hilly, with mountains being largely composed of limestone. Concerning the waters and river flow in the Jura canton, the rivers flowing through and draining the region are Doubs and the Birs.[3]

There are several natural points of interest in the Jura region. One of them is the Gorges du Pichoux and Lac Vert, listed in Switzerland's nationwide inventory of natural landscapes, sites, and monuments. The gorge is home to several springs, which are said to have high-quality water. Jura's cold waters are home to the rare mayfly species (Baetis nubecularis), which was first discovered in the Gorges du Pichoux in 2002. The local area is generally filled with various species as the environments range from rough pastures, where more than 20 species of orchid can be found, to springs, where the streams teem with salamanders.[5] Another haven for rare endangered species is the Jura Buffalo Park in Boncourt. The park was founded in 2004, initially having 13 buffalos. Nowadays, the park is themed in the "Far West" style, divided into five different parks, and provides guided tours for tourists.[6]

Concerning the average temperatures in Jura, the warmest month in the canton's capital, Delémont, is July, with an average daily temperature of 26°C. January is the coldest month, with 5°C being the average during that time. February tends to be the driest month in Delémont due to having 44 mm of rainfall on average. The most precipitation falls during May, receiving an average of about 101 mm.[7] 


Being the border canton, lying directly next to France and near German borders, Jura has been part of different states throughout its history. During the Middle Ages, the canton of Jura belonged to the Prince-Bishopric of Basel. In the 16th century, under the influence of the city of Bern, several provinces of today's Bernese Jura converted to Protestantism. The rest, namely the northern part of the territory, which constitutes today's canton of Jura, remained Catholic. For these reasons, the prince-bishops no longer resided in Basel but in Pruntrut in northern Jura after the Reformation. At that time, the prince-bishop of Basel was awarded the title of the prince by the German Empire, which allowed German soldiers to cross the state borders and reside in Jura during the Thirty Years' War without being punished by the Swiss Confederation. Later in 1792, for a brief time period, Jura also belonged to France. However, at the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the Jura territory was reassigned to the Swiss cantons of Basel and Bern.[1] 

Inhabitants of Jura canton, who were predominantly French-speaking Roman Catholics, requested to be separated from the Bern canton, primarily the Protestantism aspect. Jura inhabitants asked to become independent cantons, which was accepted by the constitution in 1977. In 1978, Swiss citizens voted to create the autonomous canton of Jura, which became the official 23rd canton of the Swiss Confederation in 1979.[2] Yet, the southern part of Jura stayed under Bernese governance, today known as Bernese Jura. In recent years, the question of Jura reportedly became controversial again. Many believe that it would be more beneficial (in terms of language) to unify Jura and Bernese Jura, as both of the territories mostly use the French language. However, unification would mean changing the whole political system of Jura canton, including the capital being transferred from Delémont to Moutier. In the referendum held in 2017 in Moutier, most of the population voted to join the canton of Jura.[3]