The St.Caherine's Church of Muhu is considered one of the most remarkable early-Gothic buildings in Estonia. It was first mentioned in Hermann von Wartberge's Chronicle dated 1276. The exterior architecture of the Muhu Church is a strict monumental style and its originality is prominent. The Muhu Church has preserved its original shape. Around 1663, a little wooden steeple was added to the church, but perished together with the roof in 1941. In 1993, during the restoration period an additional roof was constructed on the facade of the church to protect the church bell.
As for the interior furnishings of the Muhu Church one will find an altar table made of dolomite, which has been preserved from the time of its original construction. Also the stone base of the baptismal basin originates from the Middle Ages.
The pulpit is in Renaissance style and was completed on 1627. It is one of the oldest in Saaremaa and was made by Balthasar Raschky. The Classicist altar was created by Nommen Lorentzen in 1827. The altar painting has survived from the original altar and the painting was finished in 1788.
In the Muhu Church and churchyard there are worth noting the trapezium-shaped tombstones with pagan symbols found only on the islands and Western Estonia. They have been traced to the 12th and 13th centuries. The most intricate tombstone is presently located in the frame of the door leading to the wall staircase. It is one of the two preserved in Estonia from the 12th-13-th centuries depicting human figures. Through discovering tombstones, bones and some other rare archaelogical finds, the church is thought to have been erected on a sacred site of the ancient Muhu inhabitants.
Reference: Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church
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.