Castles in Occitanie

Château de Valon

Château de Valon offers a sumptuous panoramic view of the Gorges de la Truyère. Since the 12th Century, the feudal castle, built like an eagle"s nest on the rocky mound, has dominated the Gorges de la Truyère. This mediaeval site is classed as one of the most picturesque in the Aveyron. Traditional schist stone houses with lauze covered roofs overlook two magnificent valleys. The château is reputed for the tales ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Lacroix-Barrez, France

Château de la Roquette

Château de la Roquette, also known as Château de Viviourès, was mentioned first time in 12th century. It was abandoned in the 16th century.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Rouet, France

Château de Roquefixade

The Château de Roquefixade is a ruined castle built on a cliff overlooking the village of Roquefixade. There are records of a castle on the site going back to 1180, though the present ruins are more modern. While marketed in the tourist industry as one of the so-called Cathar castles, the ruins are later than this. Despite this, the site did provide a place of refuge for the Cathars at the time of the Albigensian Cr ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Roquefixade, France

Château de Saint-Élix-le-Château

Château de Saint-Élix-le-Château was built between 1540 and 1548 at the request of the Pierre Potier Terrace, secretary and notary of king Frans I. Its architecture combines details of medieval and Renaissance style.
Founded: 1540-1548 | Location: Saint-Élix-le-Château, France

Château du Bousquet

Château du Bousquet was built in the 14th century. Today it hosts a museum of ancient art from the Middle Ages to the present day. The castle has very well-preserved sample of late medieval architecture (furnished interior, furniture, objects, paintings).
Founded: 14th century | Location: Montpeyroux, France

Château de La Caze

Château de La Caze was built in the 15th century by Soubeyrane Alamand and Guillaume de Montclar. During the French Revolution it was used as a prison. Today it is a luxury hotel.
Founded: 1420 | Location: Sainte-Enimie, France

Château de Saint-Saturnin

Château de Saint-Saturnin is composed of three round towers and a one square tower. The oldest record is related to Crown in the 13th century. The castle was expanded in the 17th century, but gradually abandoned after the French Revolution.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Saint-Saturnin, France

Château de Mauriac

Château de Mauriac was built in the 13th-14th century. It was damaged by the Catholic army during the French Wars of Religion in the 16th century. Today the castle is used for weddings and other events.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Senouillac, France

Château d'Agel

Château d"Agel was first mentioned in 1100. In the early 12th century the area was rocked by the scandal of the Cathar Wars or Albigensian Crusade. A local form of Christianity was becoming ever more popular and according to some had already become the majority religion of the area. The Catholic Church regarded it as both a heresy and a threat. The 'heresy' was strongest in the county of Toulouse and ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Agel, France

Château de Lagarde

The Château de Lagarde is a ruined castle situated near the village of Lagarde. The first documented mention of Lagarde is from the 10th century. The first castle was a square tower with, in the corner, a circular covering tower, built in the 11th century. In the 12th century, four square towers were added as well as a rectangular gatehouse, the whole castle being linked by walls with arrowslits and crenellations. ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Lagarde, France

Château Sainte Marie

Château Sainte Marie dates from the tenth century. Built by the Counts of Bigorre it fell under the English rule in the 14th century but was be quickly reconquered by the inhabitants. Free access is on foot, by an easy path, from the village of Esterre.
Founded: 10th century | Location: Esterre, France

Château de Roquessels

The Château de Roquessels was built in the 10th century. It was a dependency of the convent of Cassans, which collected tithes from the baron of Margon. In 1247, the inhabitants of the village, like all subjects of the Trencavels, viscount of Béziers, were released from their pledge of allegiance and submitted to the King of France. The castle resisted valiantly the assaults of Simon de Montfort"s army. Today, the ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Roquessels, France

Château de Launac

Château de Launac was built by the viscounts of Gimoes in the 12th century. In 1148 the castle passed into the house of Isle Jourdain. Dismantled after the Treaty of Paris in 1229, the fortress was rebuilt in the fifteenth century by Carmaing Nègrepelisse. It consisted of four corner towers including an old keep from the twelfth century.  This castle was undoubtedly again dismantled by Cardinal Richelieu under the r ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Launac, France

Château d'Avezan

Château d"Avezan castle was built, probably in 1230, on the site of an older castle of which nothing remains. It was expanded in the 17th and 18th centuries. The castle was originally in the possession of the viscounts of Lomagne. In the 18th century the castle was passed into the hands of several families who lose interest and left it to decay. The castle has been restored since 1970s.
Founded: c. 1230 | Location: Avezan, France

Château de Magrin

Built on a height of 330 meters overlooking the valley of the Agout and hillsides of Lauragais, the site of Château de Magrin may have been occupied by a Gallic oppidum, converted into Roman castrum, and then reworked by the Visigoths. The first written record of the château dates from 7 August 1224, when the chatelain put himself under the protection of the Count of Toulouse, Raymond VII. In 1279, a notarial act attr ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Magrin, France

Château de Miglos

Dependent on the counts of Foix, the chateau at Miglos is mentioned in 1213, at the time of the inventory of the strongholds given back to the king of France. Miglos was a place of passage and of residence for numerous Cathar Perfects and believers.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Miglos, France

Château du Colombier

The square tower is the oldest part of the Château du Colombier but the exact date of construction is unknown. It was enlarged during the 13th and 14th centuries. In 2001-2002, the opening of the Hall of Frescos completed the tour of the chateau and allowed visitors to experience the refinement of its Renaissance decoration (XVI century)
Founded: 13th century | Location: Salles-la-Source, France

Château du Tournel

Château du Tournel is the former seat of the Barons of Tournel, one of the eight baronies of Gévaudan. The castle is sited on a rocky outcrop which dominates the upper valley of the Lot. It is in a strategic position, taking into account the possessions of the Tournel family. From its towers, one can see Mont Lozère, the highest point in the region. Before the 13th century, the Tournel family regarded themselves ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Saint-Julien-du-Tournel, France

Château de Calmont d'Olt

The Château de Calmont d"Olt is perched atop a basalt dyke. It provides a panoramic view of the Aubrac highlands. Flint fragments and a polished stone axe are evidence of occupation of the site for 5,000 years. The ministerium Calvomantese was first mentioned in 883, in documents from the Abbey at Conques. It has always had a military significance, commanding the road from Rodez to Aubrac and, more widely ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Espalion, France

Château de Loubens

From the original Château de Loubens castle remains today the main 15th and 16th century building and three towers which still bear their original Renaissance design. The north facade, facing the park, is framed by two defensive round towers. The high west walls plunge into a pond, remains of the original moat. On the south side, the castle sunny terrace overlooks the surrounding countryside. An hexagonal tower embeded i ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Loubens-Lauragais, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Seville Cathedral

Seville's cathedral, Santa Maria de la Sede, is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, and is recognised as UNESCO World Heritage. After its completion in the early 16th century, Seville Cathedral supplanted Hagia Sophia as the largest cathedral in the world, a title the Byzantine church had held for nearly a thousand years.

History

The basilica occupies the site of the great Aljama mosque, built in the late 12th century by the Almohads, the ruling Moorish dynasty, of which the only remaining parts are the Patio de Naranjas, the Puerta del Perdon (on Calle Alemanes, on the north side), and the Giralda (formerly the minaret, now the belltower).

Shortly after Seville's conquest by Ferdinand III, the mosque was converted into the city's cathedral. Its orientation was changed and its spaces partitioned and adorned to suit Christian worship practices. The internal space was gradually divided into chapels by constructing walls in the bays along the northern and southern walls. Almost the entire eastern half of the cathedral was occupied by the royal chapel that would hold the bodies of Ferdinand, his wife and Alfonso the Wise.

In 1401, city leaders decided to build a new cathedral to replace the grand mosque that served as the cathedral until then. Construction continued until 1506. The clergy of the parish offered half their stipends to pay for architects, artists, stained glass artisans, masons, carvers, craftsman and labourers and other expenses. Five years after construction ended, in 1511, the crossing lantern, or cimborrio, collapsed and work on the cathedral recommenced. The crossing again collapsed in 1888 due an earthquake, and work on the dome continued until at least 1903.

Architecture

The interior has the longest nave of any cathedral in Spain. The central nave rises to a height of 42 metres. In the main body of the cathedral, the most noticeable features are the great boxlike choir loft, which fills the central portion of the nave, and the vast Gothic retablo of carved scenes from the life of Christ. This altarpiece was the lifetime work of a single craftsman, Pierre Dancart.

The Capilla Mayor (Great Chapel), dominated by a vast Gothic retablo (altarpiece) comprised of 45 carved scenes from the life of Christ, as well as Santa Maria de la Sede, the cathedral's patron saint. The lifetime's work of a single craftsman, Pierre Dancart, this is the ultimate masterpiece of the cathedral - the largest and richest altarpiece in the world and one of the finest examples of Gothic woodcarving anywhere.

The Giralda is the bell tower of the Cathedral of Seville. Its height is 105 m. The Giralda is the former minaret of the mosque that stood on the site under Muslim rule, and was built to resemble the minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech, Morocco. It was converted into a bell tower for the cathedral after the Reconquista, although the topmost section dates from the Renaissance.

The tomb of Christopher Columbus is one of the main attractions of the cathedral for visitors, housing the remains of the great explorer who died in poverty in Valladolid. The tomb itself is more recent, from the 1892, with four bearers presenting the kingdoms of Castile, Leon, Aragon and Navarra.