The name of the Modrý Kameň town was first mentioned as Keykkw ('Blue rock') in 1290. Ruins of the Modrý Kameň castle stand on a rock pinnacle above the town. The castle was built in the second half of the 13th century by the ancestors of the Balassa noble family. They had to recapture the castle from sons of Casimir of the Hunt-Poznan clan by a siege in 1290. The castle was captured by Ottoman troops in 1576, because its guard fled when they heard the approaching Ottomans.
The castle was given up and subsequently destroyed by Ottoman troops in 1593. It was restored between 1609 and 1612 by Sigismund Balassa. The castle was ravaged many times during the 17th century, so it became ruined and abandoned. The Balassa family built a new Baroque mansion house on the side of castle hill in the early 18th century; stones of the former castle were used in the mansion building operations. The last member of the Balassa noble family died in 1899. After the demise of the Balassa family, the Almásy noble family became the proprietors of castle Modrý Kameň. They sold the demesne to the Czechoslovakian state in 1923.
Now the manor house contains the Museum of Puppets and Toys, the only one of its kind in Slovakia. Visitors can see a permanent exhibition 'From the Life of Dwarfs'. The historical exhibition of dentist technology of the Slovak Chamber of Dentist installed here is unique in central Europe. Apart from exhibitions, several interestingevents and festivals are organized at the Castle.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.