Tradition has it that the original Monastery of Valamo was founded in the 12th century or no later than the 14th century. New Valamo or New Valaam is an Orthodox monastery in Heinävesi. The monastery was established in 1940, when some 190 monks from Valamo Monastery in Karelia were evacuated from their old abode on a group of islands in Lake Laatokka (Ladoga) to Eastern Finland. The old Valamo Monastery was quite soon after the outbreak of the Winter War occupied by the armed forces of the Soviet Union.
After a temporary dwelling place the monks decided to settle down in Heinävesi in Eastern Finland. The choice fell on a mansion in Papinniemi, Heinävesi, after the monks had found there, quite surprisingly, an icon of St. Sergius and St. Herman, the founders of Valaam (Valamo) monastery in the 12th century. The monks considered this to be a sign from God. Having received evacuees from the Konevsky (Konevitsa) and Pechenga (Petsamo) monasteries, it is now the only monastery for men of the Finnish Orthodox Church.
There is a museum in Valamo monastery exhibiting the life in Orthodox monasteries from 18th century to present. The exhibition also shows the rebuilding of the monastery in Heinävesi, its ecclesiastical and social relationships and its publishing activities. The liturgical items reveal the high level of technical and artistic expertise that the Russian craft and design industry had achieved.
Only some of the monastery’s treasures are on display. These artefacts are mainly from the 19th century, although some are even from the 17th and 18th centuries. Similar objects are usually not seen, even in church, as the communion objects, the benediction crosses and the ecclesiastical textiles are stored in the sanctuary and the storage areas. The old artefacts are still in use, even though most of them are rarely used.
The cultural centre also hosts special collections on a temporary basis. The Monastery of Valamo has its own restaurant, accommodation and diverse tourist services.
References: Wikipedia, Museums of Southern Savo
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.