Askeby Abbey Church is now a Lutheran parish church. Its oldest part was built during the first half of the 12th century by King Sverker the Elder. Some decades later a convent was added to the church. The first known donations addressed to Askeby Convent are from 1162. The buildings were erected close to a manor, strategically located near the ancient road leading from the Baltic coast to the central parts of the province of Östergötland.
In the 1240s Askeby, like many other convents, was incorporated into the Cistercian order and became important to leading noble families. The buildings were damaged on several occasions, most severely in 1377 by fire. The abbey church, including a parish church, was re-inaugurated in 1418. It had then been enlarged with a new brick chancel in late Gothic style. Bricks were also used for the reconstruction of the convent, inaugurated in 1444 accommodating about twenty nuns. All the buildings were annihilated after the Reformation except for the church, whose tower, however, was destroyed in 1609.
Medieval treasures can still be found in the church, e.g. a triumph crucifix and a pietà. An altar embroidery, now in a museum, can be seen on our website. Years of research have resulted in visualized programs which re-create the abbey itself as well as its environment. These programs are shown in the church in connection with guided tours.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.