The town of Kętrzyn (until 1946 Rastenburg) was founded by the Teutonic Knights at the Prussian settlement called Rast. Initially there was a wooden watchtower, around which developed a settlement. In 1357 the commander of Bałga Johann Schindekopf granted the settlement civic rights. Shortly thereafter, in the city began construction of the defensive church dedicated to St. George, castle and defense walls.
The Kętrzyn castle was raised in the second half of the 14th century in the south-west corner of the urban battlements. Castle contained a chapel, bakery, kitchen, mill, malt house, brewery, the meat store, grain silos, storage, armory and a powder magazine. The most representative northern wing was occupied by pfleger - prosecutor, official position of the Teutonic Order. After the year of 1525 the castle became the county seat of the Duke of Prussia. In 1910 the castle was taken over by the municipal authorities, Until World War II there was a finance office and housing for authority officials. Initially it had a triangular winged structure, closed on the west side wall with a gate. Numerous of reconstructions over the centuries, adapting the object to perform administrative functions and residential buildings changed the face of the object. In January 1945, the castle was burnt down. During the reconstruction of the castle was restored in the years 1962-1966 the Gothic character of the building. Currently in the Kętrzyn's castle are functioning: the public library and museum by the name of Wojciech Kętrzyński, and as well as with the interesting regional collections.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.