Jura (department)

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For other places with the same name, see Jura (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with the Swiss Canton of Jura.
Jura
Department
Coat of arms of Jura
Coat of arms
Location of Jura in France
Location of Jura in France
Coordinates: 46°40′31″N 5°33′16″E / 46.67528°N 5.55444°E / 46.67528; 5.55444Coordinates: 46°40′31″N 5°33′16″E / 46.67528°N 5.55444°E / 46.67528; 5.55444
Country France
Region Franche-Comté
Prefecture Lons-le-Saunier
Subprefectures Dole
Saint-Claude
Government
 • President of the General Council Gérard Bailly
Area1
 • Total 4,999 km2 (1,930 sq mi)
Highest elevation 1,200 m (3,900 ft)
Lowest elevation 200 m (700 ft)
Population (1999)
 • Total 250,857
 • Rank 79th
 • Density 50/km2 (130/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Department number 39
Arrondissements 3
Cantons 34
Communes 545
^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries, and lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km2

Jura (French pronunciation: ​[ʒyʁa]) is a department in the east of France named after the Jura mountains.

History[edit]

Historically, Jura belonged to the Free County of Burgundy, known in French as the Franche-Comté. Dole was the capital until the region was conquered by Louis XIV and the capital was moved to Besançon. Dole is now a sous-préfecture of Jura.

As early as the 13th century, inhabitants of the southern 2/3 of Jura spoke a dialect of Arpitan language. It continued to be spoken in rural areas into the 20th century.

Jura is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790. It was created from part of the former province of Franche-Comté. The departments of Jura, Doubs, and Haute-Saône form the modern Franche-Comté region of France. The prefecture (capital) is Lons-le-Saunier.

Geography[edit]

Jura is one of four departments of the Franche-Comté region and is surrounded by the French departments of Doubs, Haute-Saône, Côte-d'Or, Saône-et-Loire, and Ain, as well as the Swiss canton of Vaud on the east.

The Jura mountains are wooded and rolling, not craggy and rocky like the Alps.

Many lakes can be found throughout the Jura - the largest natural lake being Lac de Chalain, measuring 3 km long and 1 km wide. Lac de Vouglans was formed after the building of a hydro-electric dam. It is one of the largest man-made lakes in France.

Politics[edit]

The President of the General Council is Jean Raquin (Miscellaneous Right).

Party seats
Union for a Popular Movement 15
Socialist Party 8
Miscellaneous Left 6
French Communist Party 3
Miscellaneous Right 2

Climate[edit]

The climate of the Jura varies greatly by elevation. The lower valleys are temperate and pleasant, but the high mountain valleys have bitterly cold winters.

Economy[edit]

Jura is a wine-growing region. The Jura wines are very distinctive and unusual wines, such as vin jaune, which is made by a similar process to sherry, developing under a flor of yeast. This is made from the local Savagnin grape variety. Other grape varieties include Poulsard, Trousseau, and Chardonnay.

The department contains no industrial cities: the few towns function as administrative and commercial centres serving Jura's rural economy. In the absence of large-scale industrial enterprises, small artisanal businesses play an important role. The Jura CFA (Centre for apprenticeship and training) recently recorded 752 current apprenticeships in trades such as building, baking, butchery, hair dressing, car repairing, sales and other non-factory based occupations.

Tourism[edit]

The Jura mountains provide ample opportunities for hiking, skiing, and other winter sports.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]