Aussurucq (French pronunciation: ​[osyʁyk]; Basque: Altzürükü) is a commune in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of south-western France.

Dolmen in the Arbailles Forest
Dolmen in the Arbailles Forest
Location of Aussurucq
Aussurucq is located in France
Aussurucq is located in Nouvelle-Aquitaine
Coordinates: 43°09′01″N 0°55′57″W / 43.1503°N 0.9325°W / 43.1503; -0.9325Coordinates: 43°09′01″N 0°55′57″W / 43.1503°N 0.9325°W / 43.1503; -0.9325
CantonMontagne Basque
IntercommunalityCA Pays Basque
 • Mayor (2020–2026) Jean-Marie Queheille[1]
47.12 km2 (18.19 sq mi)
 (Jan. 2018)[2]
 • Density5.1/km2 (13/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
64081 /64130
Elevation191–1,284 m (627–4,213 ft)
(avg. 209 m or 686 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

The inhabitants are known as Altzürükütar.[3]

The church with its Trinitarian steeple, facade, and steps


Aussurucq is located in the former province of Soule in the Massif des Arbailles some 30 km west by south-west of Oloron-Sainte-Marie and 25 km east of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. Access to the commune is by road D147 from Idaux-Mendy in the north which passes through the village and continues south through the commune to join the D117 on the southern border of the commune. A pastoral road from Béhorléguy to Alçay and Aussurucq passes through the Col d'Aphanize (without crossing it) and generally follows the line of the watershed along the Col de Burdin Olatzé. The commune is mostly rugged and heavily forested however there is some farmland in the north.[4]

The Ruisseau de Guessalia rises in the south of the commune and flows north-east gathering some tributaries to join the Apouhoura north of the commune. The Arangorena forms the north-western border as it flows north-east to join the Saison near Gotein-Libarrenx. The Bidouze rises in the south of the commune and flows north to eventually join the Adour north of Bardos.[4]

Places and HamletsEdit

  • Abeheaborda
  • Ahancetaborda
  • Ahanzolha
  • Ahusquy:[5] known for its spring of the same name
  • Althabéa (ruins)
  • Althabegoïty
  • Ambukoborda
  • Ardiaénéa
  • Ascune (rocks)
  • Athekaketa
  • Bagadoy
  • Barnexborda
  • Baskinabe
  • Behegayborda
  • Beherégaray (barns)[5]
  • Burdin-Clatze (col)
  • Capara (barn)
  • Carriquiborda[5]
  • Chalunia
  • Cumba
  • Elsareko Ordokia
  • Erbinia (cayolar)
  • Etchakokoua
  • Etchaltia (rocks)
  • Etchebidea
  • Etchecopar
  • Etchekolaz
  • Exaltia (cayolar)
  • Gettaborda
  • Goyheneix
  • Guessalia
  • Harribiribile
  • Hasgagnia
  • Haspia (rocks)
  • Héguilloré (cayolar)
  • Hidogaratia (col)
  • Hidondo
  • Ibarrondoa
  • Ihatia
  • Inharpu (col)
  • Istaurdy (cayolar)
  • Jaguiborda
  • Jaragoyhen
  • Karkatz
  • Lagay
  • Lapistoy[5]
  • Lapitz (field)
  • Larraguy
  • Larramendy
  • Latchéra
  • Lecharegaratia (cayolar)
  • Lecharéguibela (cayolar)
  • Leycharzepia (fountain)
  • Lhastéria
  • Lohiolha
  • Lucugnébehety (cayolar)
  • Miadore (cayolar)
  • Mouchako
  • Naboleguy (cayolar)
  • Nébélé (fountain)
  • Nékolha[5]
  • Olhatzezarre (cayolar)
  • Otxolatzé (fontaine)
  • Potcho (cayolars)
  • Sallaberria
  • Sorzauqui (col)
  • Souhourtia (cayolar)
  • Thartassu
  • Udoya (cayolar)
  • Uhalberryborda
  • Uhaldéa
  • Uhaltéberria
  • Uhartéa
  • Urrutchoya
  • Urrutia (château)
  • Uthurbietta (fountain)
  • Uthurieta (cayolar)
  • Zouhourtia



The commune name in basque is Altzürükü.[3]

Jean-Baptiste Orpustan indicated that the name comes from the basque altzu ("alder tree") which is explained by the position of the valley covered in alder trees. The second part of the name is more enigmatic. According to Orpustan it could be from Urru ("the other side") or iri giving alzu-(i) ri-ku meaning "place in the Alder field".[7]

The following table details the origins of the commune name and other names in the commune.

Name Spelling Date Source Page Origin Description
Aussurucq Auçuruc 1189 Orpustan Village
Auzuruc 1337 Orpustan
Aussuruc 1385 Raymond
Aussuruc 1412 Raymond
Ausuruc 1454 Raymond
Not stated
Sent-Martin d'Auçuruc, Auserucus 1471 Raymond
Ausuruc 1520 Orpustan
Dassurucq 1690 Orpustan
Ausuruc 1690 Orpustan
Aussurucq 1690 Orpustan
La fontaine d'Ahusquy La fontaine d'Ahusquy 1863 Raymond
Arabéhère Arabéhère 1520 Raymond
Soule Farm
Aran Aran 1520 Raymond
Soule Farm
Arhanset Arhanset 1520 Raymond
Soule Farm
Ariadar Ariadar 1520 Raymond
Soule Farm
Arsusqui Arsusqui 1520 Raymond
Soule Farm
Béherégaray Béherégaray 1520 Raymond
Soule Farm
Carrica Carrica 1520 Raymond
Soule Farm
Carricart Carricart 1520 Raymond
Soule Farm
Carriquiri Carriquiri 1520 Raymond
Soule Farm (possibly the current Carriquiborda Farm)
Goyen Goyen 1520 Raymond
Soule Farm
Goyti Goyti 1520 Raymond
Soule Farm
Iribarne Iribarne 1520 Raymond
Soule Farm
Lapistoy Lapitztoy 1520 Raymond
Soule Farm
Mendiburu Mendiburu 1520 Raymond
Soule Farm
Nécol Nécol 1520 Raymond
Soule Farm (possibly the current Nékolha Farm)
Sagarspe Sagarspe 1520 Raymond
Soule Farm
Urruchoro Urruchoro 1520 Raymond
Soule Farm
Burunolatxé Burunolatxé 1863 Raymond
A Col between Alçay-Alçabéhéty-Sunharette and Aussurucq
Escuné Escuné 1863 Raymond




In the Middle Palaeolithic era Soule was already populated as remains of Neanderthal prehistoric man have been found in the Xaxixiloaga caves in Aussurucq.[12] A tumulus was also reported at shepherd's cabins in Potxo[6] along the D147 road.

The central part of Soule is also called the Messagerie des Arbailles[13] between Basabürü and Pettarra (in the Sauguis-Saint-Étienne, Aussurucq, and Barcus regions).


The Town Hall in the chateau
The Fronton next to the church

List of Successive Mayors[14]

From To Name
1983 1989 Jean Etchebarne
1989 2008 Jean-Baptiste Queheille
2008 2020 Jean Carricaburu
2020 2026 Jean-Marie Queheille


The commune is part of six inter-communal structures:

  • the Communauté d'agglomération du Pays Basque;
  • the sanitation association for Pays du Soule;
  • the Energy association of Pyrénées-Atlantiques;
  • the inter-communal association of Arbailla;
  • the inter-communal association for transport from Musculdy to Ordiap;
  • the inter-communal association to support Basque culture.


In 2017 the commune had 245 inhabitants.

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1793 596—    
1800 574−0.54%
1806 637+1.75%
1821 700+0.63%
1831 711+0.16%
1836 632−2.33%
1841 701+2.09%
1846 740+1.09%
1851 716−0.66%
1856 662−1.56%
1861 660−0.06%
1866 640−0.61%
1872 643+0.08%
1876 640−0.12%
1881 604−1.15%
1886 570−1.15%
1891 564−0.21%
1896 570+0.21%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1901 523−1.71%
1906 512−0.42%
1911 518+0.23%
1921 472−0.93%
1926 502+1.24%
1931 459−1.78%
1936 437−0.98%
1946 432−0.12%
1954 401−0.93%
1962 379−0.70%
1968 347−1.46%
1975 289−2.58%
1982 293+0.20%
1990 274−0.83%
1999 254−0.84%
2007 254+0.00%
2012 249−0.40%
2017 245−0.32%
Source: EHESS[15] and INSEE[16]


Economic activity is based on agriculture (livestock and pasture). The commune is part of the Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) zone of Ossau-iraty.

Culture and HeritageEdit

The Château of Ruthie

The village features a dynamic scene related especially to Basque culture. The inhabitants of the village performed the pastoral Ürrüti Jauregiko Peirot in 2002, a play written by the son of the village Niko Etxart, an acclaimed Basque musician.

Civil heritageEdit

  • The Chateau of Ruthie (11th century)  is registered as an historical monument.[17]
  • A Gaztelu Zahar (Castellum) is at a place called gaztelu at an altitude of 582 metres.

Religious heritageEdit

The Trinitarian steeple on the church with a horological curiosity on the roof

The town has a church with a Trinitarian steeple or a tower surmounted by three points of nearly equal height.[18] The church contains a processional cross (17th century)  which is registered as an historical object.[19]

Environmental heritageEdit

At the end of the 19th century, the Arbailles Forest covered parts of the communes of Aussurucq, Béhorléguy, Camou-Cihigue, Musculdy, Ordiarp, and Saint-Just-Ibarre.

A wealth of heritage in Aussurucq commune is contained in its sub-soil. Most of the territory of the commune is karstic. The environment is characterized by the presence of natural cavities in complex shapes that have not all yet been discovered or much less explored to date. Departmental cavers have undertaken the exploration, description, and publication of this heritage respecting the environment and the local population. One of the most beautiful caves in the commune is the Nébélé which has been the subject of works and regular explorations since 1972.

The peak of Ascune stands at 860 m, Echagorry is 935 m, Elsarré is 1,153 m, Sihigue is 1,193 m, and Etchecortia is 1,204 m.[6] In the south-west of the commune, Bohorcortia is 1,214 metres high.[6]


The town has a primary school (Garaibie).

Notable people linked to the communeEdit

  • Pierre V de Charritte de Ruthie, born in Aussurucq, was chaplain to François I.[20]
  • Gilen Epherre, born at Aussurucq in 1911 and died in Bayonne in 1974, was a writer, priest, scholar and important cultural player in the post-war period

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit


  1. ^ "Répertoire national des élus: les maires"., Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises (in French). 2 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Populations légales 2018". The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 28 December 2020.
  3. ^ a b Euskaltzaindia - Academy of the Basque Language (in Basque)
  4. ^ a b c Google Maps
  5. ^ a b c d e f Topographic Dictionary of the Department of Basses-Pyrenees, Paul Raymond, Imprimerie nationale, 1863, Digitised from Lyon Public Library 15 June 2011 (in French)
  6. ^ a b c d Géoportail, IGN (in French)
  7. ^ a b Jean-Baptiste Orpustan, New Basque Toponymy, Presses universitaires de Bordeaux, 2006, ISBN 2 86781 396 4 (in French)
  8. ^ Duchesne Collection, volumes 99 to 114, containing the papers of Oihenart, former Imperial Librarian - Bibliothèque nationale de France
  9. ^ Departmental Archives of Pyrénées-Atlantiques (in French)
  10. ^ Chapter of Bayonne in the Departmental Archives of Pyrénées-Atlantiques (in French)
  11. ^ Customs of Soule in 1520, printed at Pau in 1760 (in French)
  12. ^ See the article ' (in French)
  13. ^ The duty of the messenger of the royal procurer was the surveillance of a defined geographic zone - Paul Raymond, Topographic Dictionary of Béarn-basque country (in French)
  14. ^ List of Mayors of France (in French)
  15. ^ Des villages de Cassini aux communes d'aujourd'hui: Commune data sheet Aussurucq, EHESS. (in French)
  16. ^ Population en historique depuis 1968, INSEE
  17. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00084327 Chateau of Ruthie (in French)
  18. ^ Philippe Veyrin, The Basques, p. 241, Arthaud, 20 December 1975 (in French)
  19. ^ Ministry of Culture, Palissy PM64000061 Processional Cross (in French)
  20. ^ Claude de Vic, Joseph Vaissète, and Alexandre Du Mège, General History of Languedoc: with notes and justification pieces, J.B. Paya, 1841 (in French)