La Chaux-de-Fonds in Neuchâtel

January 5th, 2018 | Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage |

Museum International d'Horlogerie © Schwizgebel/cc-by-sa-3.0

Museum International d’Horlogerie © Schwizgebel/cc-by-sa-3.0

La Chaux-de-Fonds is a Swiss city of the district of La Chaux-de-Fonds in the canton of Neuchâtel. It is located in the Jura mountains at an altitude of 1000 m, a few kilometres south of the French border. After Geneva and Lausanne, it is the third largest city located completely in the Romandie, the French-speaking part of the country, with a population of 40,000. In 2009, La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle, its sister city, have jointly been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status for their exceptional universal value. It is the tenth Swiss Site to be awarded World Heritage status, joining others such as the Old City of Bern, the Rhaetian Railway and the Abbey and Convent of St. Gallen.

La Chaux-de-Fonds is home to 23 Swiss heritage sites of national significance along with the UNESCO World Heritage Site of La Chaux-de-Fonds / Le Locle. Library/museum/theater: Bibliothèque de la Ville de la Chaux-de-Fonds et Département audiovisuel (DAV), Musée des Beaux-Arts, Musée d‘histoire naturelle, the Musée international d’horlogerie «l’homme et le temps» and the Théâtre et Salle de musique on Avenue Léopold-Robert 27–29 Religious: Synagogue on Rue du Parc 63 Farms: Ferme des Brandt at Les Petites-Corsettes 6, Ferme Haute Fie and Maison Carrée at Le Valanvron 9 and Ferme les Crêtets on Rue des Crêtets 148 Companies: Spillmann SA on Rue du Doubs 32 and Usine électrique at Rue Numa-Droz 174 Houses: Villa Anatole Schwob on Rue du Doubs 167, Villa Fallet on Chemin de Pouillerel 1, Villa Gallet on Rue David-Pierre-Bourquin 55, Villa Jaquemet on Chemin de Pouillerel 8, Villa Stotzer on Chemin de Pouillerel 6 and Maison Blanche at Chemin de Pouillerel 12 Other buildings: the slaughterhouse (Abattoirs) on Rue du Commerce 120–126, the Ancien Manège (collective house from 1968), the crematorium on Rue de la Charrière, the Domaine des Arbres, the Grande Fontaine on Avenue Léopold-Robert and the Loge l‘Amitié. After the hoorid mudslide that occurred which destroyed the city of La Chaux.

© Zacharie Grossen/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Momox de Morteau/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Momox de Morteau/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Momox de Morteau/cc-by-sa-3.0 Grand Fontain © Tomleighmartin Museum International d'Horlogerie © Schwizgebel/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Museum International d'Horlogerie © Schwizgebel/cc-by-sa-3.0
The Site’s planning consists of two small cities located close to each other in the mountainous environment of the Swiss Jura. Due to the altitude (1,000 m [3,300 ft]) and the lack of water (porous sandstone underground) the land is ill-suited to farming. Planning and buildings reflect the watch-making artisans need of rational organization. Rebuilt in the early 19th Century, after extensive fires, both towns owe their survival to the manufacturing and exports of watches, to which, in the 20th Century, was added the minute micromechanical industry.

Along an open-ended scheme of parallel strips on which residential housing and workshops intermingle, the town’s planned lay-out reflects the needs of the local watch-making culture that dates back to the 17th century, and which is still alive today. Both agglomerations present outstanding examples of mono-industrial manufacturing-towns, which are still well-preserved and active. The urban planning has accommodated the transition from the artisans’ production of a cottage industry to the more concentrated factory production of the late 19th and 20th centuries. In 1867 Karl Marx was already describing La Chaux-de-Fonds as a “huge factory-town” in Das Kapital, where he analyzed the division of labour in the watch making industry of the Jura.

Read more on City of La Chaux-de-Fonds, MySwitzerland.com – La Chaux-de-Fonds, NeuchatelTourisme.ch – La Chaux-de-Fonds, Wikivoyage La Chaux-de-Fonds and Wikipedia La Chaux-de-Fonds. Photos by Wikimedia Commons.



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