Delsberg Basin

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Delsberg Basin ( La Vallée )
location Canton of Jura , Switzerland
Waters Sorne , Scheulte , Birs
Mountains law
Geographical location 593097  /  246053 coordinates: 47 ° 22 '  N , 7 ° 21'  O ; CH1903:  593097  /  246053
Delsberg Basin (Canton Jura)
Delsberg Basin
length 24 km

The Delsberg Basin , simply called La Vallée (the valley) by the locals , is a longitudinal valley in the Swiss Jura and forms the largest tertiary basin in this mountain range. Politically, it belongs to the Delémont district in the canton of Jura and is drained from the Birs (French: Birse ) to the Rhine . The most important place is Delémont (German: Delsberg ), the capital of the canton of Jura. The valley has an area of ​​approximately 110 km².


The Delsberg Basin extends around 24 km in a west-east direction; the maximum width in the Delémont area is 5 km. The valley floor is always between 400  m and 500  m above sea level. M. The basin extends from Glovelier in the west to Mervelier in the far east. It is divided into three sub-basins by two relatively low transverse folds at Develier and Vicques that protrude far into the valley :

  • the western sub-basin in the Glovelier and Bassecourt area
  • the middle and by far the largest sub-basin with the plain around Delémont
  • the eastern sub-basin in the area from Courchapoix to Mervelier, which is also called Val Terbi .

There are also two isolated hills in the basin: Montchaibeux ( 627  m above sea level ) and Sur Chaux ( 614  m above sea level ).

The most important river in the Delsberg Basin is the Birs, which crosses the valley from south to north at its widest point and has dug deep gorges into the adjacent mountain ranges . It enters the basin through the Choindez Klus near Courrendlin and leaves it northeast of Delémont through the Vorbourg Klus. The eastern part of the Delsberg basin is drained by the Scheulte (German: Scheltenbach ), the western part by the Sorne with its side stream Tabeillon . Both rivers take on various short side streams on their way through the basin and flow into the Birs shortly after each other at Delémont.

The Delsberg Basin is limited on all sides by mountain ridges 800  m to 1100  m high. On the west side these are the ridge of Mont Russelin (up to 951  m ) and Caquerelle, on the north side the heights of Les Ordons ( 995  m ), Plain de la Chaive ( 930  m ) and Fringelikette (up to 947  m ) and in the east of the Grand Mont ( 1073  m ). The southern boundary is formed from west to east by the heights of Saulcy ( 1025  m ), Mont (up to 1133  m ) and Montchemin ( 870  m ) as well as the high ridge of Mont Raimeux ( 1302  m ), which is behind the much lower ridge in the Area of ​​the Tiergarten Gorge.


From a geological point of view, the Delsberg Basin forms a broad syncline in the Jura folds ; the surrounding anticlines differ widely here. The northern boundary is formed by the Vorburg- and Fringeliantiklinale (part of the Lomont anticline); to the south is the anticline of Mont and Tiergarten. The western and eastern delimitation coincide with fault lines, which can be viewed as the southern extensions of the faults in the Upper Rhine Rift.

The hollow of the Delsberg Basin is filled with tertiary sandstone and marl layers , which are mainly sediments from the Miocene and Oligocene . These are molasses sediments that were brought here by rivers from the Vosges before the Jura folds. Quaternary deposits of fluvial origin were placed on top . The competent limestone layers from the upper Jurassic period ( Malm ) emerge on the wooded slopes .


Population development
year Residents
1850 9936
1900 15282
1910 17385
1930 18323
1950 20951
1960 24463
1970 28608
1980 28958
1990 30072
2000 31136

The Delsberg Basin has around 31,700 inhabitants (end of 2004). It forms the core landscape of the canton of Jura; The main town is Delémont with 12,682 inhabitants. The valley is made up of 16 communities. From west to east these are: Glovelier , Boécourt , Bassecourt , Courfaivre , Develier , Courtételle , Delémont , Rossemaison , Châtillon , Courrendlin , Courroux , Vicques , Courchapoix , Corban , Montsevelier and Mervelier .

The development of the population of the Delsberger Basin was relatively continuous. Significant growth rates were recorded between 1950 and 1970 in particular. In contrast to the rest of the Jura valley basins, the economic crisis of the 1970s only resulted in stagnation, but not in a decrease in population. At the same time, Delémont became the capital of the newly founded Canton of Jura, thereby stimulating the economic situation of the valley basin. Since then, further population growth has been observed.


The larger communities in the Delsberg Basin are relatively heavily industrialized. Today the industrial sectors metal construction, mechanical engineering, precision mechanics, plastics production, manufacture of electronic devices and wood processing predominate. The watch industry with its suppliers also still has a certain importance. The smaller villages in the valley, especially in Val Terbi, are dominated by agriculture. The fertile soils of the Delsberg basin are used intensively for arable farming, fruit growing, dairy farming and cattle breeding.


The Delsberg Basin is well developed in terms of traffic. Delémont is a traffic junction on the traffic routes from Basel to Biel . Main roads to Porrentruy , La Chaux-de-Fonds and an important side road to Val Terbi branch off from the main Basel-Biel axis .

In 1998, the line from Delémont through the Delsberg Basin and Saint-Ursanne to Porrentruy opened the first section of the A16 motorway on Jura soil. With the inauguration of the Delémont bypass in 2005, another section was opened to traffic. The A16 is expected to be connected to both the Swiss national road network and the French motorway network by 2016.

The city of Delémont acts as a dead end on the Basel-Biel railway line. On September 25, 1875, the Delsberg Basin was connected to the railway network with the Basel-Delémont line. The continuation to Moutier was inaugurated on December 16, 1876, after the Delémont - Glovelier line had already opened two months earlier, on October 15, 1876 . A dense regional bus network connects the communities in the Delsberg basin that do not have a rail connection to the public transport network.


The area of ​​the Delsberger Basin can look back on a very long tradition of settlement. Various finds point to Bronze Age settlements on the Roc de Courroux and near Delémont; other finds come from the Iron Age . In Roman times , a secondary traffic route ran through the valley basin. The most important settlement at that time was probably Vicques (today's name is derived from the Latin word vicus (spots)), where the foundations of a large estate were excavated. Remains of Roman manors have also been found near Delémont, Develier and Boécourt.

The valley basin was actually settled in the 6th and 7th centuries. Delémont was founded at this time. The area called Sornegau belonged to the estate of the Alsatian dukes, while ecclesiastical sovereignty lay with the Moutier-Grandval Abbey . A gift from Rudolf III. of Burgundy this and its lands were subordinated to the Bishop of Basel in 999. The Sornegau came to the rule of Ferrette (Pfirt) through various lords in the 12th century and in 1271 to the Bishop of Basel through purchase. This gave the Principality of Basel worldly power over this area.

In 1289, the then Prince-Bishop Peter Reich von Reichenstein granted Delémont city rights. In the following years Delémont was fortified, rose to become the central location of the basin, became the center of the prince-bishop's rule and bailiwick of Delémont until the end of the Ancien Régime and served at times as the summer residence of the prince-bishops. From 1793 to 1815, the Delsberg valley belonged to France and was initially part of the Mont-Terrible department , which was connected to the Haut-Rhin department in 1800 . By decision of the Congress of Vienna , it came to the Canton of Bern in 1815 . The main part of the Delsberg basin belonged to the Delémont district, six municipalities in the southern part and in Val Terbi, however, to the Moutier district.

There were already some hammer mills in the valley in the 16th century. Various villages in the Delsberg Basin experienced a strong economic boom from around the middle of the 18th century through the targeted exploitation of the stone ore and iron smelting. The watch industry introduced from the Neuchâtel Jura also gained a foothold in the 19th century. Because a lot of charcoal was used for iron processing, the forest in the region was severely decimated. It was not until the connection to the railway network around 1875 that charcoal was replaced by hard coal, and the further expansion of the metal and watch industry was promoted.

Various incidents in the geographically distant Bern cantonal government made calls for an independent canton of Jura louder and louder in the course of the 20th century. Delémont became the center of this movement. In a referendum on June 23, 1974, the residents of the Delémont district made a clear decision to create the new canton. Because the district of Moutier had spoken out against the separation from Bern, its border communities were given the opportunity to vote again in September 1975 for or against the separation from Bern. The villages in the Delsberg Basin voted for the new canton to be founded. On January 1, 1979, the canton of Jura was founded, Delémont declared the canton capital and the municipalities of Châtillon , Rossemaison , Courrendlin , Courchapoix , Corban and Mervelier moved from the Moutier district to the Delémont district. The creation of the new canton gave Delémont and the entire Delsberg basin new economic impetus.