Situated on the eastern side of the Pays Lauragais, the ancient fortified city of Saint Papoul has conserved its medieval style with its lanes of half-timbered houses. The abbey is to one side of the village, at its southern entrance.
Founded during the 8th century, the Benedictine Abbey is closely linked to the figure of Saint Papoul. This evangelist of the Lauragais, a disciple of Saint Sernin, Toulouse's first bishop, was probably martyred in the area.
However, thanks to Saint Berenger, the abbey became famous in the 11th century. The future Saint Berenger was a monk at Saint Papoul, where he led an exemplary life until his death. His burial place, said to be miraculous, attracted many pilgrims over a long period of time, resulting in prosperity for the abbey.
In 1119, the Abbey of Saint Papoul was the possession of the Abbey of Alet, at that time, very powerful. The golden age arrived during the 15th century, thanks to the creation of the bishopric of Saint Papoul by Pope Jean XXII, in 1317. The second Bishop of Saint Papoul, Raymond de Mostuejouls, wrote the statutes concerning the cathedral's chapter (1320).
Later, the abbey underwent several assaults such as plundering by mercenaries in 1361, or the anger of the Protestant troops in 1595. The bishops rapidly became concerned by the resulting degradation of the abbey. Pierre Soybert, who became bishop in 1426, renovated the totality of the buildings. Then, in the 17th and 18th centuries, the Episcopal Palace was built and many buildings were consolidated.
The cloister was seriously damaged during the French Revolution which also marked the end of the Saint Papoul bishopric. It was not until 1840 that restoration began. The abbey buildings remain and the former abbey church has become the parish church.References:
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.