Scottish Castles Association

Preserving the Past for the Future

Castles of the Cathars - Chateau Queribus, Part III

In 1208 Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) authorised the Albigensian Crusade against the Cathar heretics of Languedoc in the south of France. The Crusade was to last for many years.

Queribus high on its rock, some 728 metres high

In 1244 Montségur, one of last castles in Cathar hands, fell to the Crusaders. A number sought shelter at Château Quéribus in Cucugnan located in the Aude department of the Languedoc-Roussillon region.

With its origins in the 10th or 11th century, Quéribus is another of those seemingly unassailable fortresses. It stands isolated upon a soaring peak and so strong it required a garrison of only 15-20 men.

On its highest point stands a polygonal donjon of superb construction. It literally clings to the rock. The entrance is contrived within one of its angles and leads to a groin vaulted chamber housing the all important water cistern. Climbing high to the fighting platform, one is rewarded with breathtaking views.

LEFT: The donjon entrance of Queribus – the windows were a later addition
RIGHT: Queribus's groin vaulted interior

The Crusaders blockaded Quéribus and it fell a year later. Its custodian, Chabert de Barbara, was imprisoned then released to safety in Spain.

The donjon of Queribus looms large as you approach it

The captured castles were rebuilt by the Kings of France – the Cathars never returned.

Read the first and second parts of our series on Castles of the Cathars here.

Chateaux de Lastours, Part I

Puilaurens, Part II

Article by SCA member Brian McGarrigle

Added: 11 Jun 2023 Updated: 13 Oct 2023
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