Lindau Lighthouse is the southernmost lighthouse in Germany, located on Lake Constance. The lighthouse was built from 1853 to 1856 at the western mole in the entrance to the harbour of Lindau and was first lit on 4 October 1856. It succeeded the light station in the Mangturm tower of 1230.
During the first years of operation the light was created by an open oil fire. At that time the keeper would steadily have to keep the fire burning in great pans and operate a bell and foghorn. The firing was later converted to kerosene and then gas. Since 1936 the tower has been operated electrically and was automated in the early 1990s. The light is lit on demand by ships using radio signals. The light characteristic is one flash every three seconds which is created by two rotating parabolic reflectors.
The lighthouse and the entire port of Lindau were originally built by the Bavarian Railway Company and later used to be operated by the shipping department for Lake Constance of Deutsche Bahn. Eventually the port was sold to the city works of Constance in 2002 together with the Bodensee-Schiffsbetriebe GmbH shipping company. After several years of negotiations the port area and thus the lighthouse were transferred to the town of Lindau in April 2010. It is open to visitors who may find information on local fauna and flora and on Lake Constance shipping.
The lighthouse is a popular subject for photographs.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.