Wettingen Abbey was a Cistercian monastery founded in 1227 and dissolved during the secularisation of 1841, but re-founded at Mehrerau in Austria in 1854.
Count Heinrich II of Rapperswil bought lands in Wettingen sometime after 1220, and gave it the name Wettingen, believed to be named after his wife's family von Wetterau. He had married in 1220 to Mechtidis von Wetter, her brother was Count Lutold I von Wetter. And as well as the advowson of the village church. After being miraculously saved from shipwreck during the crusades, he gave his possessions in Wettingen to Salem Abbey, a Cistercian house in the north of the region around the Bodensee. The piece of land for the construction of the new buildings was given by the nunnery at Schänis. Eberhard of Rohrdorf, abbot of Salem, dispatched the twelve monks necessary for a new foundation and some lay-brothers under Konrad, the abbot-designate, previously Eberhard's deputy.
On 14 October 1227 the monks began building the monastery. In memory of their generous founder they also adopted the motto Non mergor (Latin for 'I do not sink'). From the beginning the abbey was able to add to its possessions: in Uri, in Zürich, in Riehen and above all in the valley of the Limmat in the area round Wettingen. In the Limmat valley the abbey possessed the authority of the low justice.
In the early 16th century however the abbey was greatly weakened by financial difficulties. On 11 April 1507 a fire destroyed parts of the monastery. The Infant Jesus of Wettingen, a painting on wood, miraculously escaped the devastating fire. In 1529 most of the monks converted to the reformed faith. After the Second War of Kappel of 1531 the Roman Catholic towns brought about the re-catholicisation of the monastery and until 1564 nominated the abbots themselves.
Under Abbot Peter Schmid (1594 to 1633) the abbey enjoyed a revival. The buildings were restored and extended. In 1604 a school of philosophy and theology was opened, and in 1671 a printing-press. During the Toggenburg Warof 1712 the monks were obliged to flee to central Switzerland for a period. In the turmoil after the French Revolution the abbey afforded shelter to thousands of political and religious refugees from France.
In 1803 the abbey came into the possession of the newly established Canton of Aargau, which initially gave assurances of its continuance, provided it maintained a school. From 1830 however the government of the canton made ever greater financial demands, until in 1834 it took over the administration of the abbey's assets, imposed a ban on the acceptance of novices and closed down the abbey school. On 13 January 1841 the cantonal parliament of Aargau decreed the dissolution of all monasteries in the Canton, which led to the troubles known as the Aargau Monastic Conflict.
Shortly afterwards the monks — among them Alberich Zwyssig, composer of the Swiss national anthem, the Swiss Psalm — were forced to leave the abbey. The extensive abbey library was taken over by the Aargau Canton Library. After some years of wandering the monks settled, on 8 June 1854, in the secularised monastery at Mehrerau in Bregenz in Austria, since known as Wettingen-Mehrerau Abbey.
The empty buildings at Wettingen were placed at the disposal of the teachers' training college. Since 1976 they have been used by the Wettingen Canton School. Roman Catholic services are held every week in the former abbey church, and weddings are also celebrated there.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.