5,076 (Dec 31, 2008)
Echallens is a municipality in the district of Gros-de-Vaud in the canton of Vaud in Switzerland.
The territory of the municipality was already settled very early. There are remains of a Bronze Age foundry.
The first documentation dates from 1141 under the name of Charlens. Later forms of the name include Challeins, Escharlens (1177), Eschallens (1228), and Eschalleins (1279). The present form of the name first appears in 1315. The name comes from the personal name Charles.
The site belonged originally to the Bishop of Lausanne. At the end of the 12th century, the Burgundian Lords of Montfaucon established the territory of Echallens and built a castle there in the 13th century. In 1317, the rights of the house of Savoy were recognized. In 1350, Echallens was encircled by a wall and received city rights in 1351. From then until the 16th century, a weekly market was held.
In 1410, the government of Echallens passed to the house of Chalon, which originated in Burgundy. For this reason, the Eidgenossen took over after the Burgundian Wars and put it under the administration of Fribourg and Bern in 1476.
Because of the common administration of Catholic Fribourg and Protestant Bern, the Reformation did not gain ground in Echallen, and it remained Catholic.
Echallens belonged from 1798 to 1803 to the canton of Leman in the Helvetic Republic, and was brought into the canton of Vaud by the mediation of Napoleon. It has been the capital of the district since 1798.
Echallens has an area, as of 2009, of 6.66 square kilometers (2.57 sq mi). Of this area, 4.25 km2 (1.64 sq mi) or 63.8% is used for agricultural purposes, while 0.87 km2 (0.34 sq mi) or 13.1% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 1.48 km2 (0.57 sq mi) or 22.2% is settled (buildings or roads), 0.05 km2 (12 acres) or 0.8% is either rivers or lakes and 0.02 km2 (4.9 acres) or 0.3% is unproductive land.
Of the built up area, industrial buildings made up 2.0% of the total area while housing and buildings made up 12.2% and transportation infrastructure made up 6.2%. while parks, green belts and sports fields made up 1.1%. Out of the forested land, all of the forested land area is covered with heavy forests. Of the agricultural land, 50.6% is used for growing crops and 10.4% is pastures, while 2.9% is used for orchards or vine crops. All the water in the municipality is flowing water.
The municipality was the capital of the Echallens District until it was dissolved on 31 August 2006, and Echallens became part of the new district of Gros-de-Vaud.
Echallens lies at an elevation of 617 m (2,024 ft) 14 km (8.7 mi) north of Lausanne. The municipality stretches across the Gros de Vaud plateau, on both sides of the river Talent, on the northwest edge of the Jorat, in central Vaud.
It includes a section of the rolling Gros de Vaud, the breadbasket of the canton of Vaud. The Talent runs from east to west across the municipality, from the highlands of the Jorat. In the southwest, it runs down to the Mortigue (a tributary of the Talent). The highest point in the municipality is at an elevation of 672 m (2,205 ft) in the municipality woods.
Echallens lies in the middle of its district. The surrounding minicipalities are Villars-le-Terroir, Poliez-le-Grand, Bottens, Malapalud, Assens, Saint-Barthelemy, and Goumoens-la-Ville, all in the same district.