Posted by: ankneredelstein | July 15, 2009

Château de Quéribus (Cucugnan) – Pays Cathare

Queribus stands alone.

Queribus stands alone.

The Cathare region of Southeast France is a remarkable treasure trove of ancient chateaus and abbayes. Nineteen different sites of diverse architecture and history are available. According to the history of the site:

“The castle of Quéribus is situated on the commune of Cucugnan which is renowned in French literature for being the site of the ‘Priest’s Sermon’ by Alphonse Daudet. Perched on a narrow rocky outcrop, the castle stands proudly at 728 metres altitude.
Mentioned in 1020, the castle of Quéribus was part of the County of Besalù, then of Barcelona and was finally held as a royal fortress by the house of Aragon in 1162.
A ‘Cucugnan family’ appeared for the first time in 1193. During the Crusade against the Albigensians, this family was presented as being one of the fervent defenders of the Languedoc cause. Thus, before 1240, Pierre de Cucugnan took food and stores to the heretics in the castle of Puilaurens and sheltered the dispossessed knight Guiraud d’Aniort. In 1240, Pierre joined Raymond Trencavel at his siege of Carcassonne. Following the failure of the siege, Pierre surrendered to King Louis IX (Saint-Louis).
The castle of Quéribus continued to serve as a haven to Cathars.

The Cathar deacon of the Razès, Benoît de Termes, took refuge there under the authority of the knight Chabert de Barbaira, who was finally forced to surrender to Saint-Louis in 1255. The last stronghold to fall, eleven years after the fall of Montségur, Quéribus then became a master piece in the French defence system.

Château de Quéribus perched on its mountainside in the Cathare Region of SouthEastern France

Château de Quéribus perched on its mountainside in the Cathare Region of SouthEastern France

It was one of the ‘five sons of Carcassonne’ with Aguilar, Peyrepertuse, Puilaurens and Termes. Its remarkable strategic location enabled the castle to survey the plains of the Roussillon in the south and to bar enemies from entering into the Corbières massif. The castle lost its strategic interest in 1659 with the Treaty of the Pyrenees which fixed the border with Spain at its present location.”

Quéribus commands a stunning view of the surrounding territory

Quéribus commands a stunning view of the surrounding territory

The chateau has an eerie look about it perched on the mountainside. Stark and bare. No elegant architecture, just an imposing strategic asset impossible to approach without being noticed.  The winds immediately become formidable and serious when you approach the outer wall. It is amazing it has withstood the centuries of tortured weather conditions.  Remarkable monument to the ability of people to construct things in strange, difficult locations.  Very, very cool and worth a visit.

Photos below:

(click images for larger versions)


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