Just two and a half kilometres away from the village of Arzachena, you will find the Albucciu nuraghe, one of the most characteristic and important examples of a 'corridor' building (or protonuraghe), the ancestor of the later nuraghes, although the truncated-ogival rooves were affected by the subsequent tholos building technique .
Dating back to the Middle Bronze Age (15th century BC), the nuraghe is completely hidden in a jagged grove of olive trees and Mediterranean scrub. The peculiarity, which differentiates it from the other nuraghes in the area, is its construction technique. The imposing granite blocks were carefully leant against an imposing, light-coloured granite rock that forms part of the masonry of the main building, as well as a preponderant part of the entire nuraghe.
The structure is very well preserved despite some collapses. The layout is irregular, typical of protonuraghes. The shape is rectangular with a north-south orientation and east-facing façade. At the entrance, surmounted by an architrave and open on the large façade, you will see, on the left, a deep closet and a large elliptical room covered with tholos on the right. You will also notice a series of corbels that, in the past, held a balustrade to protect the terrace. Past the entrance, you will see two small niches, one on each side. Further in, you will find a trapezoid passageway, and if you look up you can see a false dome ceiling. On the southern slope is the largest space on the ground floor. The very high roof allowed for a wooden loft that divided the hall into two floors. In the lower one, a mullioned window opens on one side, while a seat on the floor near the fireplace and a wall cupboard still give the nuraghe the impression of 'being lived in'. The upper floor is one of the largest rooms in the entire building: you will enter it via a staircase. It consists of a semi-circular open-air area and a series of rooms, including a large circular chamber, the largest of the nuraghe, accessible only from the terrace. The main daily activities took place on the upper floor: processing of milk and cereals, cooking bread and other foods.
Among the most important findings at the site are a hilted dagger, a statuette of an offeror and a closet of bronzes. These objects allow us to date the Albucciu nuraghe to between the end of the Middle Bronze Age and the Iron Age (around 1400-650 BC). The archaeological area, in addition to the nuraghe, also includes the remains of circular huts, which formed the nuragic village, and 80 meters from the complex the remains of a Giants' tomb called the Moro tomb, probably connected to the life of Albucciu. Not far away there is also the Nuragic temple of Malchittu.References:
The Château de Foix dominates the town of Foix. An important tourist site, it is known as a centre of the Cathars. Built on an older 7th-century fortification, the castle is known from 987. In 1002, it was mentioned in the will of Roger I, Count of Carcassonne, who bequeathed the fortress to his youngest child, Bernard. In effect, the family ruling over the region were installed here which allowed them to control access to the upper Ariège valley and to keep surveillance from this strategic point over the lower land, protected behind impregnable walls.
In 1034, the castle became capital of the County of Foix and played a decisive role in medieval military history. During the two following centuries, the castle was home to Counts with shining personalities who became the soul of the Occitan resistance during the crusade against the Albigensians. The county became a privileged refuge for persecuted Cathars.
The castle, often besieged (notably by Simon de Montfort in 1211 and 1212), resisted assault and was only taken once, in 1486, thanks to treachery during the war between two branches of the Foix family.
From the 14th century, the Counts of Foix spent less and less time in the uncomfortable castle, preferring the Governors' Palace. From 1479, the Counts of Foix became Kings of Navarre and the last of them, made Henri IV of France, annexed his Pyrrenean lands to France.
As seat of the Governor of the Foix region from the 15th century, the castle continued to ensure the defence of the area, notably during the Wars of Religion. Alone of all the castles in the region, it was exempted from the destruction orders of Richelieu (1632-1638).
Until the Revolution, the fortress remained a garrison. Its life was brightened with grand receptions for its governors, including the Count of Tréville, captain of musketeers under Louis XIII and Marshal Philippe Henri de Ségur, one of Louis XVI's ministers. The Round Tower, built in the 15th century, is the most recent, the two square towers having been built before the 11th century. They served as a political and civil prison for four centuries until 1862.
Since 1930, the castle has housed the collections of the Ariège départemental museum. Sections on prehistory, Gallo-Roman and mediaeval archaeology tell the history of Ariège from ancient times. Currently, the museum is rearranging exhibits to concentrate on the history of the castle site so as to recreate the life of Foix at the time of the Counts.