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Fort de Joux

Fort de Joux

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The Fort de Joux or Château de Joux is a castle
A castle is a type of fortified structure built in Europe and the Middle East during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but usually consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble...

, transformed into a fort, located in La Cluse-et-Mijoux
La Cluse-et-Mijoux
La Cluse-et-Mijoux is a commune in the Doubs department in the Franche-Comté region in eastern France.-Population:-References:*...

, in the Doubs
Doubs is a department the Franche-Comté region of eastern France named after the Doubs River.-History:As early as the 13th century, inhabitants of the northern two-thirds of Doubs spoke the Franc-Comtois language, a dialect of Langue d'Oïl. Residents of the southern third of Doubs spoke a dialect...

Départements of France
The departments of France are French administrative divisions. The 101 departments form one of the three levels of local government, together with the 22 metropolitan and 5 overseas regions above them and more than 36 000 communes beneath them...

, in the Jura mountains
Jura mountains
The Jura Mountains are a small mountain range located north of the Alps, separating the Rhine and Rhone rivers and forming part of the watershed of each...

 of France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. It commands the mountain pass
Mountain pass
A mountain pass is a route through a mountain range or over a ridge. If following the lowest possible route, a pass is locally the highest point on that route...

 "Cluse de Pontarlier".

During its long history, Fort de Joux has gone through successive stages of construction. The first construction was built of wood in the 11th century and a rebuilding was executed in stone in the 12th century by the lords of Joux. While others have improved or at least repaired during the course of its history Fort de Joux' most famous remodeler would be Vauban
Sébastien Le Prestre, Seigneur de Vauban and later Marquis de Vauban , commonly referred to as Vauban, was a Marshal of France and the foremost military engineer of his age, famed for his skill in both designing fortifications and breaking through them...

  in 1690. Successfully besieged by Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 in 1814, it was later reinforced with the construction of the forts at Larmont during the 19th century. In 1879, Captain (later General) Joffre
Joseph Joffre
Joseph Jacques Césaire Joffre OM was a French general during World War I. He is most known for regrouping the retreating allied armies to defeat the Germans at the strategically decisive First Battle of the Marne in 1914. His popularity led to his nickname Papa Joffre.-Biography:Joffre was born in...

, then a military engineering
Combat engineering
A combat engineer, also called pioneer or sapper in many armies, is a soldier who performs a variety of construction and demolition tasks under combat conditions...

 officer, modernised it and transformed it into a fort.

It served as a prison for successive French governments between the 17th and 19th centuries. In this capacity, Fort-de-Joux is best known for serving as the site of imprisonment for Toussaint Louverture, who died there on April 7, 1803, Mirabeau
Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau
Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau was a French revolutionary, as well as a writer, diplomat, freemason, journalist and French politician at the same time. He was a popular orator and statesman. During the French Revolution, he was a moderate, favoring a constitutional monarchy built on...

 and Heinrich von Kleist
Heinrich von Kleist
Bernd Heinrich Wilhelm von Kleist was a poet, dramatist, novelist and short story writer. The Kleist Prize, a prestigious prize for German literature, is named after him.- Life :...


In addition to being employed as a prison, Fort-de-Joux has played a part in the defence of the region up until World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...


The fortress currently houses a museum of arms which exhibits more than "six hundred rare weapons" dating from the early 18th to the 20th centuries, including a rare 1717 rifle. The castle also has a well
Water well
A water well is an excavation or structure created in the ground by digging, driving, boring or drilling to access groundwater in underground aquifers. The well water is drawn by an electric submersible pump, a trash pump, a vertical turbine pump, a handpump or a mechanical pump...

 which, at 120 m (393 ft), is one of the deepest in Europe.

Since 1949, the Fort de Joux has been listed as a monument historique
Monument historique
A monument historique is a National Heritage Site of France. It also refers to a state procedure in France by which national heritage protection is extended to a building or a specific part of a building, a collection of buildings, or gardens, bridges, and other structures, because of their...

by the French Ministry of Culture.


External links

This article incorporates information from the French Wikipedia article « :fr:Fort de Joux » specifically from this version.