|On this page I have mounted Montsegur pictures.
Just wait, if you can, for the miniatures to fill in and click on them to make them full-sized.
Please enjoy the Cathar refuge and stronghold of Montsegur, where heroism and treachery tell a tale about human nature.
Yet another mixed-message from history.
Cathar Perfecti, over 220 of them, walked into the bonfire lit for them, carrying their wounded, rather than give up their faith.
The stronghold and its environs are just beautiful!
Montsegur is not far from Foix in Southern France.
NOTE: To get an unbeatable pictorial overview of the splendor of the Cathar
castles and their remains, and, if you read French, to get a more definitive history, please click on this link:
Of course that is not to say that my pictures, below, are not worth looking at. The first one is a dramatic shot from the road to the northwest, which looks straight onto the end of the pog, the elongated block of rock, on which the stronhold sits. From any other angle it isn't quite as dramtic, but climbing up the trail to the top, about 500 feet, is no mean feat with a full load of whatever it is that was caried up there to build, provision, or defend the place.
The second picture is on the east side of the stronghold, where a little bit of level ground allowed structures to be built for the supporting village that housed soldiers and servants and their families. The level part is a few yeards wide at best. This is an amazing place.
The west side is where the main entry point is, where the trail ends in other words.
Finally, what you have been waiting for, the interior: physically empty! The holes on the side walls is where wooden beams were inserted that created a line of apartments along the walls. The line going from bottom to top on the left and to the left is a stairway, blocked for safety reasons. Defenders would run up these very narrow stairs with their gear to shoot their wares from the tops of the walls. Dangerous just to get to your station, let alone when you were up there making a target!
The window in the picture above is this window in the meeting room below. It is called a meeting room rather than a chapel, which it resembles. Perhaps because Cathars did not have chapels?
The view from the meeting room doorway is quite thrilling!
To the east lie the Pyrenees, a mountain chain that runs from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean and makes the current border between France and Spain. The Spanish border used to lie north of the Pyrenees, however, and that is why there is a line of castles ringing the northern boundary of this mountain chain, to defend against a southern intrusion into the lands of Occitania. When the French/Spanish border was moved a bit further south into the tops of the mountains, by mutual agreement, all these defensive castles went to ruin, there was no longer a purpose for them. In the very top of the Pyrenees lies Andorra, a little Principality I have featured in a few pages of its own (click here to go there now).
As I was descending from Montsegur, a storm drove down from the northwest and started sprinkling. By the time I had gotten about 8 miles away, I saw this scene of the little pointy pog of Montsegur siting beside its big Pyreneean cousins, awaiting the leftovers of a storm they were seemingly soaking up quite nicely. Montsegur is a dramtic sight from all angles.
On the other wall of the valley in which the above picture was taken sat another castle ruin, also in a dramtic setting above a pretty and peaceful village.
I thought this picture, the wall of an old home set in the above village, with a riot of flowers all around
its gardens, was a perfect and peacful ending to a very rewarding day of hiking, looking, feeling and experiencing
Montsegur. What was there to feel and experience in Montsegur? Go to the first link below, it is all there in
great wordiness and detail!
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