Ulstrup Castle traces its history back to the end of the 14th century when it was owned by Jens Brandsen. Later owners include Queen Margaret I but the original house later disappeared and Ulstrup continued to exist as a village. It was acquired by privy councilor Christen Skeel in 1579 and dissolved to make way for his new manor house which was built in 1591. The building was expanded between 1615 and 1617 by his son, Jørgen Skeel, and an agricultural building (avlsgården) was built in 1668.
The estate remained in the possession of the Skeel/Scheel family until 1809. Later in the century, Ulstrup reappeared as a railway town located on the Langå-Viborg railway line which opened in 1863. In the 1920s, Ulstrup was dissolved and most of the land sold in parcels. From 1951 the remaining grounds housed an amusement park and zoo.
The north wing of the complex incorporates Christen Skeel's original house from 1591. His son's expansion added a south and a west wing. The complex was later closed with the construction of a lower gate wing to the east. The gate wing is flanked by two octagonal corner pavilions and its central section, above the gate, is topped by a small tower with a lantern. The west wing was demolished in 1755.
Since 1980, Ulstrup Castle has been re-established as a manor house after much of the land was reacquired and the buildings thoroughly restored.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.