Land of History and Legends
Aragon is the name of one of the Christian royalties which shared the rule over the Iberian peninsular from the 9th to the 13th century. The first Aragon family lineage to occupy the village and construct a fortified château during the 12th century was Roger Guilhem d’Aragon, cousin of the Hispanic King of Aragon. His four daughters can be imagined singing chants at the windows of the château’s garden wall.
During the 12th century the Roman Catholic Church decided to eradicate the Cathar faith considered to be a heretic and deviant form of Christianity. The Cathar crusade, named also the “Croisade des Albigeois”, was initiated by the Pope Innocent III, in agreement with the King of France (one can wonder about the confusion of Christian and strategic considerations, but that is another story). The dark and cruel Simon de Montfort led the royal forces, up to the most inaccessible hide outs in the region, and hunted down and burnt all known Cathar ‘parfaits’ who refused the luxury of the Roman Catholic faith.
The Lord of Aragon offered a home to several Cathar priests at the end of the 12th century to protect them from the terror of the Royal Army. In 1126, as a recompense for his loyal services, the Viscount Trencavel honored the Lord of Aragon with the guardianship of a tower of the Cité of Carcassonne.
Aragon’s Château, during the 800 years since the construction of its original elements, has been the theater of numerous conflicts, battles and jealousies. Without the ownership or military domination of the château, the population would not be subordinated and the economic and military domination of the surrounding lands would not be secured.
It is around this time, during the 12th and 13th centuries, that the Troubadours developed the poetic art of courtly love songs, inspired by the heroic values of chivalry in the southern regions of France speaking the ‘langue d’oc’ language.
Three well known Troubadours came from the Spanish Aragon royal lineage, Alphonse II d’Aragon, Jacques II d’Aragon and Pierre III d’Aragon. Raimon de Miraval, who originated from the Cabardès area is one of the best known Troubadours.
During the Wars of Religion, twice, in 1580 and 1588, Huguenot knights took over the Château until it was reclaimed by the Viscount of Turenne, a Catholic royalist.
The entire village then came under the ownership of the King Louis IX. The Château, largely restyled and rebuilt as a residence was later sold to a rich textile merchant. Six “royal” manufactures in surrounding villages played an important role in the local economy from the beginning of the 17th century over a period of 150 years.
During the revolution, the owner, the Count of Bancalis, a monarchist, was expelled from the Château. As the causes and ruling classes have changed, the Château d’Aragon has remained the symbol of all conflicts over the ages.
Today the Château is at last peaceful, a superb residence in which traces of the past harmoniously blend with the interior design and modern comfort.