The Toome Hill, rising above Old Town, has always been strategic military position. Tartu's original settlement, Tarbatu, was established here in 600AD, and if you trace the hill's outline on a map, you can still see the shape of fortifications built here in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The western part of the hill is clearly dominated by the ruins of the 13th-century cathedral (Toomkirik) that has been decaying since the Livonian War (1558-1583). The sanctuary, which is still in a quite good condition today, accommodates the University’s history museum. Here you can get a broad overview of academic research and teaching in Tartu.
The old observatory of Tartu was constructed in 1811. It was the most modern one in Europe in the 19th century.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.