History of Latvia between 2000 BC - 1 BC
In about 2000 BC a new wave of colonists flowed into the Baltic area from the South. They settled down in East Prussia, Lithuania and Southern Latvia. This invasion continued in the Bronze Age (1500—500 BC) and the older Iron Age (500—0 BC). During these periods two cultural routes are playing a great part in the development of Baltic culture. One of these leads over East Prussia to Central Europe, the other across the sea to Scandinavia.
Some forms of graves, tools, arms, and burial customs lead one to suppose that the continuous development of these prehistoric cultural forms of the Baltic is sufficient to prove that the bearers of this civilization were the forefathers of the present Baltic nations. Thus, the ethnic history of these people can be traced back to about 2000 BC.
At the beginning of our era the common original Baltic culture had already branched into the Western (later Borussian or Ancient Prussian) and Eastern (later Lithuanian and Latvian) cultures. Even in that age, as is shown by archaeology and linguistics, the relations in culture and trade between the Balts and the Finno-Ugrians were considerable and close. At any rate, this development took place some time before the Teutons established direct contact with both races.
The Bronze Age (1500–500 BC) witnessed the transition from an economy based on food procurement to one based on food production. Stock-keeping and agriculture became increasingly important. In the Older Iron Age (500 BC - 0 AD), the first iron objects came into use.
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.