Marienlyst Castle

Helsingør, Denmark

Marienlyst Castle, Danish Marienlyst Slot, is a palacial residence named after King Frederik V of Denmark's second wife Juliana Maria, the queen consort of Denmark and Norway. The building formerly served as a royal pavilion of Kronborg Castle and was mostly used as a venue for pleasure and hunting. It was also used by the director-general of the Øresund Customs House, Colonel Adam Gottlob von Krogh and his wife Magdalene, between 1796 and 1847.

Hans van Steenwinckel, the royal architect, designed and built the original pavilion and parterre garden in 1587, for King Frederick II of Denmark. The royal estate was then purchased in 1758 by Count Adam Gottlob Moltke, who completely changed the original pavilion and garden with the help of French architect Nicolas-Henri Jardin between 1759 and 1763. The additions led to its present dayarchitectural structure and façade. Jardin also redesigned the original parterre gardens, changing them to a larger, more modern garden à la française design, with symmetrical hedges, avenues, fountains and mirror ponds. Within the castle wall boundaries, these elegant garden grounds remain to a large extent intact, but outside, much of the garden has been lost, including the most renowned romantic landscape garden in Denmark, designed by Johan Ludvig Mansa in the 1790s. This was mostly due to the sale of much of the original property by the Helsingør municipality which had purchased the entire Marienlyst estate at auction in 1851. One of the lot purchasers was J.S. Nathanson, who in 1859 built Hotel Marienlyst, the first luxury hotel in Helsingør, named after the castle.

Between 1919 and 1921, local Helsingør gardener Gudmund Nyeland Brandt, removed the last remnants of the romantic gardens, replacing them with an 18th-century garden design to match the castle's classical architecture. For the most part it is these gardens visitors will see today. They have been part of Helsingør Municipality Museums since 1930.

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Beckov Castle

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.