Matthew Chapel (Matthiaskapelle) is one of the most important chapels in Rhineland-Palatinate. This chapel was built as a reliquary chapel for the safe keeping of Apostle Matthew’s head. Heinrich II of Kobern brought this relic from the Damiette crusade (1217-1221). The head was kept there for 150 years. Between 1362 and 1381, it was at castle Helffenstein. From 1422 till 1927 it was kept in the cathedral treasures of Trier. After that it was given by Nuntius Pacelli, later Pope Pius XII, to the St. Matthew abbey of Trier. The unusual ground-plan of the chapel is hexagonal and refers to oriental influences of the construction. It was built around 1220-1230.

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Founded: 1220-1230
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Hohenstaufen Dynasty (Germany)

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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.