Muráň Castle is noteworthy for its unusually high altitude of 935 m. It also figures in several romantic legends about its remarkable owners. Muráň Castle was built in the 13th century on a cliff overlooking a regional trade route. Its name was mentioned for the first time in 1271.
One of its owners, the robber baron Matúš Bašo, transformed the castle into a stronghold of bandits who robbed merchants and looted villages. After a siege by the royal army, the castle fell in 1548 and Matúš Bašo was executed.
Another famous owner was Maria Széchy, better known as 'The Venus of Muráň'. This astonishingly independent woman divorced her second husband to marry the love of her life – magnate Ferenc Wesselényi. When Wesselényi was besieging Muráň Castle, which was occupied by her relatives at the time, she even managed to get his soldiers inside through trickery. In 1666, Wesselényi organized a failed coup against Leopold I, but he died before any major confrontation. Subsequently, Maria Széchy bravely led a defense of the castle against Imperial troops. Outnumbered, she eventually surrendered to Charles of Lorraine in 1670.
The castle was damaged by fire in 1760 and today it is in ruins.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.