St. Casimir’s Church was founded by the Jesuits and dedicated to Lithuania’s patron saint Prince Casimir Jagiellon (1458-1484). The construction of the glorious building began in 1604 and was completed in 1635. Burnt to the ground just 20 years later when the Russians invaded in 1655, conflagration visited twice again within the next century in 1709 and 1749 before the architect, mathematician and astronomer Tomas Žebrauskas (Pol. Thomas Zubrówka, 1714-1758) restored it to more or less the form it's seen in today.
Over the centuries the church fell into the hands of the Augustinians, Napoleon’s Grande Armée, the Russian Orthodox Church (who significantly altered its appearance), the Lutherans (who used it as the garrison church for the occupying German Army during WWI) and others, including the Soviets who turned the whole place into a museum of atheism no less. Returned to the Catholic Church in 1988, the building was consecrated in 1991 and has since undergone a massive renovation project, restoring its predominantly Baroque style with Gothic and Renaissance touches. Of particular interest inside are three late Baroque altars and a recently discovered 17th-century crypt containing dark bas-reliefs featuring miscellaneous religious motifs.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.