Taubenloch, (French:gorges du Taubenloch) is a gorge located in the Canton of Bern, above Biel/Bienne in Switzerland. It crosses the first Jura Mountains mountain chain, as considered from the Swiss Plateau.
The stretch of the gorge covers around 2 kilometers, from Frinvillier (altitude: 517 m) to Bözingen, a suburb of Biel/Bienne (altitude 447 m). Deep down flows the Suze (river) that originates in the Erguel, i.e., Saint-Imier valley, to merge into the Lake of Bienne.
Already in the times of the Roman Empire the area was already well colonised: The main Roman roads axle in Helvetii from Rome led to Aventicum (Avenches). It continued through Morat, Chiètres and Kallnach to Solodorum (Soleure) and Windisch, along the eastern part of the Seeland. Via Witzwil, a second road crossed the Seeland between the Lake of Neuchâtel and the lake of Morat. A bifurcation from Petinesca went through the steep gorge of Taubenloch, crossed the Jura through the Col de Pierre Pertuis pass leading to Augusta Raurica and Germany along the Rhine.
Origin of the name
The name Taubenloch was found for the first time in a document dated 1532. Several versions as to its provenience are still being debated :
- Daubenloch, from the German word Daube meaning precipice, trench.
- Die Taube: (Dove) Local legend : a young man loved a young girl who was so beautiful, charming and gracious that her nickname was de die Taube, fr. la Colombe (the Dove). Both wanted to get married. But she was chased by the despotic Sire of nearby Rondchâtel. She only found a sorry escape from his clutches in throwing herself to death down the gorge, which was henceforth called the Taubenlochschlucht (the gorge of the Dove), in her memory.
- Similar, but less romantic: (Taube), that supposedly used to nestle into the steep rocky walls of the gorges.
A private non-profit corporation was founded in 1889, La société d’exploitation des gorges du Taubenloch, for the only purpose of establishing a hiking path throughout the gorge. Since 1927, the Taubenlochschlucht are partially part of protected natural sites in Switzerland.
Traffic runs through either side of Taubenloch, route 18 (south) and route 6 (north). The "Transjurane" express-way project, expected to be finalised between 2025 and 2030, by following the route of the gorge, will link up what is now the E27.
Sources and references
- Tourisme Bienne-Seeland: Excursion gorges du Taubenloch
- Tourisme Suisse: Les Gorges du Taubenloch - des Gorges vertigineuses aux portes de la ville (de Bienne)
- BE Division forrestière agenda de sécurisation / route romaine
- Nouvel éboulement: fermeture 01.08.2009
- La légende de la petite colombe