Golub-Dobrzyn Castle

Golub-Dobrzyñ, Poland

Golub-Dobrzyñ Castle was built by Teutonic Knights at the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries, later rebuilt and extended in the 15th century. Between 1616 and 1623 it was a residence of Anna of Finland; during this period a Renaissance attic was added. The castle was destroyed during the The Deluge. In the 19th century, it was neglected and a gale caused the collapse of its attic. After 1945 the castle was rebuilt and renovated.

The chapel is the only room in the castle with original medieval interior decoration not changed during the Renaissance reconstruction. Therefore there is still typical monumental Gothic architecture like high ogival window with traceries and rising up at the height of the second floor three-bay starlike vault. Walls of the chapel were beautifully decorated with polichromies, however, for our times there are only fragments of 16th-century paintings on the front wall.

Just next to the chapel there is a smaller room used as the Teutonic infirmary, or hospital room. Later princess Anna Vasa practiced phytotherapy here. The refectory is located on the first floor of the east wing, where the Teutonic knights once ate meals and were doing banquets. Entering this room unusual for a Gothic-style windows and ceiling entablature can be noticed. The shape of the window has changed when in the 17th century castle has been rebuilt in accordance with the spirit of the new era - the Renaissance. However Gothic cross vaults hadn"t been reconstructed then and had retained its original shape until 1842, when - because of the hurricane - the eastern attica collapsed destroying the ceilings from the top as down as to the basements. Currently in the refectory one can see an exhibition of replicas of old weapons and artillery, as well as the specimens of medieval weapons.

In the days of the Teutonic knights the meeting and deliberations took place in the chapter room. As the remnants of the medieval equipment of the room there are openings in the floor, which then formed part of the heating system bringing the hot air. Later on the room was converted into Renaissance style in which it has remained until today.

In one of the rooms on the ground floor one can see the iron hooks on the ceiling. According to oral transmission they are the dismal testimony to the former premises of the room, which, if necessary, served as torture chambers.

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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.