In the foothills of the Black Mountain, below the picturesque village of Saissac and directly above a ravine, stand the remains of an ancient Cathar castle.
Built in the 10th century, and reconstructed between the late 13th and early 14th centuries, then remodelled in the 16th century, Saissac Castle still retains a sturdy, polygonal keep, quadrangular towers and curtain walls, as well as a Renaissance building. In the latter, two restored rooms house a museum display about the monetary treasure of Saissac: 2,000 deniers from the 13th century!
|Opening times||Monday: 10:00 – 18:00 • Tuesday: 10:00 – 18:00 • Wednesday: 10:00 – 18:00 • Thursday: 10:00 – 18:00 • Friday: 10:00 – 18:00 • Saturday: 10:00 – 18:00 • Sunday: 10:00 – 18:00|
|Address||Rue Bertrand de Saissac, Saissac|
|Telephone||+33 4 68 24 46 01|
The castle is located at the extreme north of the department of Aude, at the southern end of the village of Saissac. It is built on three contiguous terraces, on a rocky promontory. It is largely made of schist, but also contains granite for some particular places. The castle dominates, on its rocky promontory, the ravine of Vernassonne, which gives it an important strategic position at the entrance of the Black Mountain. You reach the castle on the side of the village.
The most unknown of the Cathar castles and yet! It is the oldest and one of the largest, a Carbon 14 analysis on a fragment of charcoal, included in the dungeon of the keep, gave the approximate date of 900 for the construction of this fortification.
It is in 960 that the castle of Saissac is mentioned verbatim. On this date he was bequeathed by Hugues, Bishop of Toulouse to the Earl of Carcassonne.
In the eleventh century, the lords of Carcassonne infused the seigniory with vassals of the region and thus born the lineage of Saissac. The most illustrious character of this family is Bertrand de Saissac (1140-1202), protector of the troubadours and cathars, he was notably the famous tutor of Raimond Roger Trencavel from 1193 to 1199.