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Fanjeaux, a Cathar stronghold and birthplace of the Dominican Order

Hotspot for Catharism in Lauragais, the medieval town of Fanjeaux becomes, during the 13th Century, the centre of preaching against the Cathar heresy. Nowadays, Fanjeaux is one of the 21 sites of the Pays Cathare.

 

Hotspot for Catharism in Lauragais, the medieval town of Fanjeaux becomes, during the 13th Century, the centre of preaching against the Cathar heresy. Nowadays, Fanjeaux is one of the 21 sites of the Pays Cathare.

Of Roman origin, the medieval village is hung on a rocky peak, at the gates of the Piège land, between the Pyrenees and the Montagne Noire. During the Middle Ages, Fanjeaux became a stronghold of Catharism in Lauragais. There gathered Guilhabert de Castres, Cathar bishop of the Toulouse area, Simon de Montfort, leader of the crusaders armies, and the future Saint Dominic, founder of the Order of Preachers.

In 1206, Dominic de Guzmán, future Saint Dominique, settles in Fanjeaux, a village known to be a “haunt” of Cathar heretics. A year later, he founds at the foot of the village the first Dominican monastery: Prouille, a monastery that welcomes the first “bonnes femmes” or Cathar ladies converted by Saint Dominic.

Fanjeaux has kept its historic village centre preserved; there one can discover the “Seignadou” with its panoramic viewpoint, typical narrow streets, the wooden-framed market hall, but also: the Preachers monastery, the Southern Gothic Style church and Saint Dominic’s House.

 

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