Bogenšperk Castle is a 16th-century castle. It is best known for its association with the 17th-century historian Johann Weikhard von Valvasor. Standing on a low hill, the Renaissance castle is fully restored, and is listed as an important cultural monument of Slovenia. The three-story building consists of four tracts from several time periods, connecting four towers and surrounding an arcaded inner courtyard. The oldest part of the castle is the north tower, which originally stood as a standalone fortification. A wooden bridge was later added, linking it to the south-east tower, which originally served a defensive purpose and was once much higher than the rest of the building; however, since a 1759 fire caused by a lightning-strike heavily damaged the castle, the tower was never rebuilt to its original level. The castle stands on bedrock; one of its attractions is a deep well carved directly into the rock.
In its current form, the castle was likely begun by the noble house of Wagen as a replacement for Boltežar Wagen's nearby Castle Lihtenberk, already in disrepair and severely damaged by a major earthquake in 1511. After the 1630 death of Jurij Wagen, the last member of the family, the castle changed several owners until it was in 1672 finally bought by Johann Weikhard von Valvasor after his return from abroad. Thoroughly renovated, it was furnished with a graphic studio, a library, printing press and collection of curiosities. Due to the enormous cost of issuing Valvasor's book, The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola, Valvasor became heavily indebted, and was forced to sell first his valuable library and, in 1692, his estates. His family moved to Krško, while the castle again changed several owners, the last being the noble family Windischgrätz, who abandoned the castle in 1943. While its interior furnishings were destroyed or looted, the castle itself survived the war intact and was in its immediate aftermath turned into a military hospital. From 1957 it was occupied by Jesuits, who carried out some preventive maintenance on the structure; in 1972, a systematic reconstruction effort began, at first led by the art historian Milan Železnik.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.