Jura (department)

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



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 it was moved to Besançon. It 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.


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.

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