Cefalù Castle lies on the mountain above the town of the same name. The top of Cefalù Rock was already inhabited in ancient times as the remains of a temple with megalithic stonework attests. Under Byzantine rule the settlement on the mountain developed into a real town, with the consequent partial depopulation of the town center below. In the years 837-838 Cefalù withstood a first attack of the Muslims. After a new siege, which occurred in the years 857-858, the town was conquered.
During the 11th century the area was conquered by the Normans and they probably built Cefalù Castle around 1063. The present castle probably dates back to the 12th century. Archaeological evidence tells that it was probably destroyed by fire at the end of the 13th century. The castle was used during the 14th and 15th centuries, underwent extensive rearrangements between the 16th and 17th century and during the 19th century saw the total and definitive abandonment of the complex that had, meanwhile, lost military importance.
The top of Cefalù Rock with the castle now serves as a archaeological city park. It is freely accessible during daytime. Getting to the castle however is quite hard as the only way to get up this 270 meters high mountain is walking up a very long and winding footpath. And although the ruins may not be that impressive, the views from the rock over the surrounding land and sea are beautiful.References:
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.