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A general view of Bugarach
A general view of Bugarach
Coat of arms of Bugarach
Coat of arms
Location of Bugarach
Bugarach is located in France
Bugarach is located in Occitanie
Coordinates: 42°52′41″N 2°21′07″E / 42.8781°N 2.3519°E / 42.8781; 2.3519Coordinates: 42°52′41″N 2°21′07″E / 42.8781°N 2.3519°E / 42.8781; 2.3519
CantonLa Haute-Vallée de l'Aude
IntercommunalityPays de Couiza
 • Mayor (2014–2020) Jean-Pierre Delord
26.62 km2 (10.28 sq mi)
 • Density8.6/km2 (22/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
11055 /11190
Elevation340–1,231 m (1,115–4,039 ft)
(avg. 427 m or 1,401 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Bugarach (French pronunciation: ​[byɡaʁaʃ]; Burgarag in Occitan[2]) is a commune in the Aude department in southern France, around 35 km south of Carcassonne. The economy is based on agriculture and tourism, attracting many New Age adherents.


Bugarach is at the foot of Pic de Bugarach, a 1,230 metres (4,040 ft) mountain peak and the highest summit in the Corbières Massif. The peak is also called the "upside down mountain" as the top layers of rock are older than the lower layers due to uplift of the Pyrenees.

It is also located on the Green Meridian.


The development of Bogomillism

The location is mentioned for the first time as Villa Burgaragio in 889 AD;[3] it derives from the German name Burghar and name "Bugari" of the Bulgarian Bogomilis in medieval France.[citation needed] In the 18th century the village became known for manufacturing wooden tools and hats. In modern times many esoteric and UFO legends have been connected to this place.


The major economic activity of the village and surrounding region is agriculture and tourism. Demand for holiday cottages and popularity with New Age followers led to a rise in real estate prices.[4]


Historical population

Cult settlements[edit]

In the 1960s and 70s Pic de Bugarach became popular with the hippie movement. Later in the 20th century it became popular with New Age followers who believed the "upside down mountain" had mystical powers, spreading to the belief that the village would be spared in the 2012 apocalypse.[5][6][7]

Cult followers believe aliens reside inside the mountain and will spare any humans that decide to leave the planet with them in the coming apocalypse.[8][9][10][11][12] In 2011, the number of visitors doubled to over 20,000 and France's cult watchdog, Miviludes, placed the village under scrutiny due to concern over possible mass suicides. The mayor even considered calling the army over concerns caused by this issue.[13][14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Populations légales 2017". INSEE. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  2. ^ Josiana Ubaud, Montanhas nòstras
  3. ^ Dictionnaire étymologique des noms de lieux en France, Ch. Rostaing 1963
  4. ^ The end of the world is ... real estate boom, The Independent, 24 May 2011
  5. ^ Paris, Henry Samuel (2010-12-21). "French village which will 'survive 2012 Armageddon' plagued by visitors". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  6. ^ Emmy Varley, The Apocalypse December 31, 2012? There is a refuge in the Aude, AFP, December 15, 2010
  7. ^ Cyril Hofstein, Bugarach, the village of the end times,Le Figaro, February 18, 2011
  8. ^ Pfeiffer, Eric. "Pic de Bugarach: French commune home to 20,000 'doomsday cultists' awaiting alien salvation". Yahoo. Yahoo. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  9. ^ Pickup, Oliver (25 March 2012). "Hippies head for Noah's Ark: Queue here for rescue aboard alien spaceship". The Independent. London. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  10. ^ Richard, Jocelyn (26 March 2012). "Apocalypse 2012: France's Bugarach Peak Draws Believers Who Await Alien Rescuers". Huffington Post. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  11. ^ Bockman, Chris (8 July 2011). "news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/9531861.stm". BBC. BBC. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  12. ^ NÉGRONI, ANGÉLIQUE (July 5, 2011). "July 05, 2011". Time. Archived from the original on 23 May 2012. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  13. ^ Fichot, Nicolas (2011-06-27). "French village bemused by Apocalyptic strangers". Reuters. Retrieved 2011-06-29.
  14. ^ Buffery, Vicky (2011-06-15). "French village seen at threat from Apocalypse sects". Reuters. Retrieved 2011-06-29.