|Population||16,345 (Dec 2011)|
|- Density||654 /km2 (1,693 /sq mi)|
|Area||24.97 km2 (9.64 sq mi)|
|Elevation||471 m (1,545 ft)|
|Mayor (list)||Marc-Henri Favre|
|Localities||Chemin-Dessous, La Bâtiaz, La Verrerie, Le Guercet, Martigny-Bourg, Martigny-Ville|
|Surrounded by||Bovernier, Charrat, Dorénaz, Fully, Martigny-Combe, Salvan, Vernayaz, Vollèges|
|Twin towns||Vaison-la-Romaine (France), Sursee (Switzerland)|
Martigny (German Martinach, Latin Octodurum, sometimes also Octodure in French) is the capital of the French-speaking district of Martigny in the canton of Valais in Switzerland. It lies at an elevation of 471 meters (1,545 ft), and its population is approximately 15000 inhabitants (Martignerains or "Octoduriens"). It is a junction of roads joining Italy, France and Switzerland. One road links it over the Great St. Bernard Pass to Aosta (Italy), and the other over the col de la Forclaz to Chamonix (France). In winter, Martigny is appreciated for its numerous nearby Alp ski resorts such as Verbier.
Martigny lies at an elevation of 471 meters (1,545 ft), about 33 kilometers (21 mi) south-southeast of Montreux. It is on the east edge of the Rhône valley, at the foot of the Swiss Alps, and is located at the point where the southwestern-flowing Rhone turns ninety degrees northward and heads toward Lake Leman (Lake Geneva). The Dranse River flows from the Valais Alps into the Rhone here.
Martigny has an area, as of 2011[update], of 24.9 square kilometers (9.6 sq mi). Of this area, 31.5% is used for agricultural purposes, while 39.8% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 23.3% is settled (buildings or roads) and 5.3% is unproductive land.
In 1964 the current municipality was created with the merger of Martigny-Ville and Martigny-Bourg.
Martigny's history reaches back two thousand years: Celtic tribes, the Romans, and Napoleon's troops have left behind traces. A restored Roman amphitheatre, temples, citizen living quarters, and thermal baths can be seen in Martigny today. Martigny became the first bishop's seat in Switzerland. Today it is admired for its historical districts of La Bâtiaz and Vieux-Bourg which feature churches and secular buildings worth seeing.
In the 1st century BC, present-day Martigny was an oppidum or vicus of a Celtic tribe, the Veragri. It was then called Octodurus or Octodurum. When Julius Caesar was in Gaul (57-56 BC), he sent Servius Galba with the twelfth legion and some cavalry into the country of the Nantuates, Veragri, and Seduni. His purpose in sending this force was to open the pass over the Alps, the pass of the Great St. Bernard, by which road the mercatores had used to travel at great risk as well as paying great tolls. (B. G. iii. 1.) The local people of the Alps had allowed these Roman merchants, from what is now Italy, to pass, because if they extracted too much or mistreated them they would no longer come. But the locals got as much from this merchant trade as they could. Galba, after capturing many local strongholds and receiving the submission of the people, sent troops into the country of the Nantuates, and with the his remaining army determined to winter in Octoduru. Octoduru, which town being situated in a valley not having extensive level ground near it, is confined on all sides by very lofty mountains. There is some level ground at Martigny, and the valley of the Rhone at this part is not narrow. Caesar says that the town of Octodurus was divided into parts by a river, but he does not mention the river's name. It is the Dranse. Galba gave one part of the town to the Galli to winter in, and assigned the other to his troops. He fortified himself with a ditch and rampart, and thought he was safe. He was, however, suddenly attacked by the Galli before his defences were complete or all his supplies were brought into the camp. Thus began the Battle of Octodurus. The Romans obstinately defended themselves in a six hours' fight; when, seeing that they could no longer keep the enemy out, they made a sortie, which was successful. The Romans estimated the Galli at more than 30,000, and Caesar says that more than a third part were destroyed. The slaughter of the enemy was prodigious, which has been made an objection to Caesar's veracity, or to Galba's, who made his report to the commander. It has also been objected that the valley is not wide enough at Martigny to hold the 30,000 men. There may be error in the number that attacked, and also in the number who perished. After this escape Galba prudently withdrew his troops, and marching through the country of the Nantuates reached the land of the Allobroges, where he wintered.
The region joined the Roman Empire. In 47, Emperor Claudius founded Forum Claudii Augusti, later renamed Forum Claudii Vallensium to avoid confusion with another city that was dear to him. Octodurus was the principal town of the area until the displacement of the episcopal see to Sion in the 4th century. Pliny (iii. c. 20) says that the Octodurenses received the Latinitas (Latio donati). The town appears in the Antonine Itinerary and in the Tabula Peutingeriana. In the Notit. Prov., the place is called Civitas Vallensium Octodurus. At a later period it was called Forum Claudii Vallensium Octodurensium, as an inscription shows. One authority speaks of the remains of a Roman aqueduct at Martigny. Many coins, and other memorials of the Roman time, have been found about the place.
The name Octodur is manifestly Celtic. The second part of the name is Dur, water. The first part, probably some corrupt form, is not explained. The town sat on the Roman road from Augusta Praetoria (modern Aosta) in Italy.
Martigny is first mentioned in 1018 as Martiniacum.
Martigny is in the region known as the Chablais which in modern times incorporates a portion of Switzerland Vaud east of the Rhone, Switzerland Valais west of the Rhone, and France in the former Savoy. In 1845-47 there was an attempt by a group of primarily Catholic Swiss cantons to secede from Switzerland and form a Catholic confederation called the Sonderbund. The Valais was to be part of the Sonderbund. General Henri Dufour with 97,000 Federal troops in 1847 prevented secession in a relatively bloodless confrontation against a slightly smaller rebel army in what is known as the Sonderbund war. The Valais decided to not fight.
Coat of arms 
Martigny has a population (as of December 2011[update]) of 16,345. As of 2008[update], 30.6% of the population are resident foreign nationals. Over the last 10 years (2000–2010 ) the population has changed at a rate of 13.1%. It has changed at a rate of 6.7% due to migration and at a rate of 3.5% due to births and deaths.
Most of the population (as of 2000[update]) speaks French (12,227 or 85.1%) as their first language, Portuguese is the second most common (602 or 4.2%) and Italian is the third (597 or 4.2%). There are 227 people who speak German and 9 people who speak Romansh.
As of 2008[update], the gender distribution of the population was 48.7% male and 51.3% female. The population was made up of 5,114 Swiss men (32.4% of the population) and 2,566 (16.3%) non-Swiss men. There were 5,830 Swiss women (37.0%) and 2,268 (14.4%) non-Swiss women. Of the population in the municipality 5,162 or about 35.9% were born in Martigny and lived there in 2000. There were 3,554 or 24.7% who were born in the same canton, while 1,439 or 10.0% were born somewhere else in Switzerland, and 3,694 or 25.7% were born outside of Switzerland.
The age distribution of the population (as of 2000[update]) is children and teenagers (0–19 years old) make up 23.8% of the population, while adults (20–64 years old) make up 61.3% and seniors (over 64 years old) make up 14.8%.
As of 2000[update], there were 5,918 people who were single and never married in the municipality. There were 6,723 married individuals, 922 widows or widowers and 798 individuals who are divorced.
As of 2000[update], there were 6,001 private households in the municipality, and an average of 2.3 persons per household. There were 2,211 households that consist of only one person and 385 households with five or more people. In 2000[update], a total of 5,766 apartments (84.4% of the total) were permanently occupied, while 900 apartments (13.2%) were seasonally occupied and 168 apartments (2.5%) were empty. As of 2009[update], the construction rate of new housing units was 6.2 new units per 1000 residents. The vacancy rate for the municipality, in 2010[update], was 2.72%.
Heritage sites of national significance 
The Centre valaisan du film, La Bâtiaz Castle, the three museums (Musée gallo-romain, Musée des voitures, Fondation Pierre Gianadda) and the Roman era city are listed as Swiss heritage site of national significance. The entire town of Martigny-Ville and the small town of Martigny-Bourg are part of the Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites.
Culture and the Gianadda Museum 
The Romans left many archaeological remains in Martigny. The city is known for its amphitheater, which was restored in 1978. Cow fights are held in the amphitheater during early autumn for the "Comptoir". The city is notable for its Pierre Gianadda Foundation (Fondation Pierre Gianadda) museum. This is the most important cultural attraction in Martigny and, in addition to the Gallo-Roman Museum, houses a car museum. The building was constructed around the remains of a former Roman temple built on top of Roman ruins. The foundation hosts three painting exhibitions every year, with works by renowned masters.
The Earth Science Museum (Musee des Sciences de la Terre)is another must-see museum in Martigny if you are interested in understanding the Alps better. Indeed, this museum presents a three-storey exhibition about geology in Valais, crystals from Valais and mines of Valais.
Twin Town 
In the 2007 federal election the most popular party was the FDP which received 37% of the vote. The next three most popular parties were the CVP (26.23%), the SP (13.5%) and the SVP (13.39%). In the federal election, a total of 5,030 votes were cast, and the voter turnout was 56.9%.
In the 2009 Conseil d'Etat/Staatsrat election a total of 4,057 votes were cast, of which 335 or about 8.3% were invalid. The voter participation was 46.4%, which is much less than the cantonal average of 54.67%. In the 2007 Swiss Council of States election election a total of 4,947 votes were cast, of which 412 or about 8.3% were invalid. The voter participation was 57.0%, which is similar to the cantonal average of 59.88%.
Economy and agriculture 
Martigny is the headquarters of the Groupe Mutuel and is the headquarters of the watch brand 121time. The city is surrounded by vineyards and orchards and field crops and is famous for the resulting gastronomy which is celebrated at many area restaurants and guesthouses. The relatively warm Valais (for Switzerland) sunshine is ideal for growing strawberries, apricots, asparagus, and the wine grapes which grow on the adjacent hills and steep slopes. The nearby Dranse River drains to the Rhone in the valley where Martigny lies.
As of 2010[update], Martigny had an unemployment rate of 6.5%. As of 2008[update], there were 251 people employed in the primary economic sector and about 74 businesses involved in this sector. 2,211 people were employed in the secondary sector and there were 188 businesses in this sector. 7,812 people were employed in the tertiary sector, with 871 businesses in this sector. There were 7,227 residents of the municipality who were employed in some capacity, of which females made up 44.2% of the workforce.
In 2008[update] the total number of full-time equivalent jobs was 8,663. The number of jobs in the primary sector was 145, of which 137 were in agriculture and 8 were in forestry or lumber production. The number of jobs in the secondary sector was 2,100 of which 897 or (42.7%) were in manufacturing, 2 or (0.1%) were in mining and 1,082 (51.5%) were in construction. The number of jobs in the tertiary sector was 6,418. In the tertiary sector; 1,491 or 23.2% were in wholesale or retail sales or the repair of motor vehicles, 582 or 9.1% were in the movement and storage of goods, 594 or 9.3% were in a hotel or restaurant, 103 or 1.6% were in the information industry, 740 or 11.5% were the insurance or financial industry, 827 or 12.9% were technical professionals or scientists, 286 or 4.5% were in education and 964 or 15.0% were in health care.
In 2000[update], there were 4,424 workers who commuted into the municipality and 2,362 workers who commuted away. The municipality is a net importer of workers, with about 1.9 workers entering the municipality for every one leaving. Of the working population, 10.4% used public transportation to get to work, and 58.8% used a private car.
From the 2000 census[update], 11,089 or 77.2% were Roman Catholic, while 715 or 5.0% belonged to the Swiss Reformed Church. Of the rest of the population, there were 115 members of an Orthodox church (or about 0.80% of the population), there were 13 individuals (or about 0.09% of the population) who belonged to the Christian Catholic Church, and there were 309 individuals (or about 2.15% of the population) who belonged to another Christian church. There were 2 individuals (or about 0.01% of the population) who were Jewish, and 696 (or about 4.85% of the population) who were Islamic. There were 29 individuals who were Buddhist, 18 individuals who were Hindu and 13 individuals who belonged to another church. 769 (or about 5.35% of the population) belonged to no church, are agnostic or atheist, and 745 individuals (or about 5.19% of the population) did not answer the question.
In Martigny about 4,520 or (31.5%) of the population have completed non-mandatory upper secondary education, and 1,487 or (10.4%) have completed additional higher education (either university or a Fachhochschule). Of the 1,487 who completed tertiary schooling, 53.2% were Swiss men, 29.3% were Swiss women, 11.0% were non-Swiss men and 6.5% were non-Swiss women.
Martigny is home to the Médiathèque Valais - Martigny library. The library has (as of 2008[update]) 57,756 books or other media, and loaned out 144,524 items in the same year. It was open a total of 280 days with average of 22 hours per week during that year.
Martigny is on the high speed Simplon line of the Swiss Federal Railway, SBB, which connects Italy (Domodossola) and southern Switzerland to northeastern Switzerland and the cities of Lausanne and Geneva. It also is the origin of narrow gauge railroads and bus routes that climb into the nearby mountains on both sides of the Rhone valley in which Martigny lies. One railroad goes west to Chamonix, France, crossing the border at Le Chatelard. The other railroad goes southeast to Chable and Orsieres. The regional transportation agency known as TMR SA (Transports de Martigny et Regions) operates this service and the ski trains known as the Mount-Blanc Express (to Chamonix) and the St.Bernard Express (to Orsieres). See the transportation map provided by the TMR website in the External Links section below. Thanks to Martigny's transport connections the winter sports regions of the "4 Vallées", Portes-du-Soleil and Ovronnaz are easily reached.
It has been nearly one century that the two original railway companies Martigny-Orsières (MO) and Martigny-Châtelard (MC) began serving the valleys of Entremont and Trient. In 1990, the Boards of directors of MO and MC decided to combine for common management, however each company would maintain an independent status. Two new trains were started: the Saint-Bernard Express for the MO, and the Mont Blanc Express for the MC. Later the Octodure-Voyages and Orsières-Octodure-Transports companies were taken over. TMRSA is an important employer in the region with some 180 permanent staff.
The French holiday resort of Chamonix is accessible from Martigny in one-and-a-half hours using the scenic narrow-gauge tracks of the "Mont Blanc Express". Crossing the wild Trient Gorge and ascending to breath-taking heights towards Chamonix (France), travelers will see waterfalls crashing down and majestic mountain crags rising in the background. Shady forests alternate with cozy villages and ultimately give way onto the grandiose glacier of Mont Blanc, Europe's highest peak. The "St Bernard Express" takes passengers from Martigny to Orsières and from there by bus through beautiful mountain countryside to the hospice on the Great St. Bernard. Pass through the Val d'Entremont to Orsières, from where a bus will take you to Champex-Lac, La Fouly or if it is summer (June to end of September) to the hospice on the Grand St. Bernard Pass. There are the legendary kennels where the dogs of the same name are bred, as well as the small local museum to view the Roman artifacts found here.
Notable Martignerain 
- Gérald Métroz, wheelchair sportsman and motivational speaker
- Pascal Couchepin, politician, President of the Swiss Confederation in 2003 and 2008;
- Christian Coppey, Architect
- Yannick Ecoeur, ski mountaineer
- Pierre-Marie Taramarcaz, ski mountaineer
- Stéphane Lambiel, figure skater, two-times World champion
- Swiss Federal Statistics Office – STAT-TAB Ständige und Nichtständige Wohnbevölkerung nach Region, Geschlecht, Nationalität und Alter (German) accessed 3 October 2012
- Arealstatistik Standard - Gemeindedaten nach 4 Hauptbereichen
- Swiss Federal Statistical Office accessed 15-September-2011
- Amtliches Gemeindeverzeichnis der Schweiz published by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (German) accessed 19 July 2011
- Martigny in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
- Flags of the World.com accessed 15-September-2011
- Swiss Federal Statistical Office - Superweb database - Gemeinde Statistics 1981-2008 (German) accessed 19 June 2010
- STAT-TAB Datenwürfel für Thema 40.3 - 2000 (German) accessed 2 February 2011
- Ständige Wohnbevolkerung nach Geschlecht und Heimat am 31.12.2009.xls (German) (French) accessed 24 August 2011
- Swiss Federal Statistical Office STAT-TAB - Datenwürfel für Thema 09.2 - Gebäude und Wohnungen (German) accessed 28 January 2011
- Swiss Federal Statistical Office STAT-TAB Bevölkerungsentwicklung nach Region, 1850-2000 (German) accessed 29 January 2011
- "Kantonsliste A-Objekte". KGS Inventar (in German). Federal Office of Civil Protection. 2009. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
- Conseil des Communes et Regions d'Europe (French) accessed 27 April 2011
- Swiss Federal Statistical Office, Nationalratswahlen 2007: Stärke der Parteien und Wahlbeteiligung, nach Gemeinden/Bezirk/Canton (German) accessed 28 May 2010
- Staatsratswahlen vom 1. März 2009 (German) accessed 24 August 2011
- Ständeratswahl 2007 (German) accessed 24 August 2011
- Swiss Federal Statistical Office STAT-TAB Betriebszählung: Arbeitsstätten nach Gemeinde und NOGA 2008 (Abschnitte), Sektoren 1-3 (German) accessed 28 January 2011
- Swiss Federal Statistical Office - Statweb (German) accessed 24 June 2010
- Swiss Federal Statistical Office, list of libraries (German) accessed 14 May 2010
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed. (1854–57). "Octodurus". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray. pp. 462–63.
- Martigny Homepage (French)/(English)
- Homepage of Transports Martigny et Regions (TMR SA)
- MAP of Railroads and Bus lines of Martigny region
- Media related to Martigny at Wikimedia Commons
- Cow fights - Les vaches d'Hérens (French)
- Martigny (municipality) in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.