Granitz Hunting Lodge lies in the middle of the forested Granitz ridge which covers an area of about 1,000 hectares and has been part of the Southeast Rügen Biosphere Reserve since 1991. The name Tempelberg given to the highest hill in the Granitz comes from the 18th century, when a small hexagonal belvedere stood on the site of the present schloss.
The hunting lodge was built between 1838 to 1846 by order of Prince Wilhelm Malte I of Putbus, based on a design by Berlin architect, Johann Gottfried Steinmeyer in the style of the North Italian Renaissance castellos. It was once a popular holiday destination for European nobility and prominent people; for example, Frederick William IV, Christian VIII, Otto von Bismarck, Elizabeth von Arnim, and Johann Jacob Grümbke numbered amongst its visitors.
The lodge was owned by the von Putbus family until 1944 and passed into Nazi hands on the imprisonment of Malte von Putbus. The family was finally dispossessed as part of the East German land reforms and the castle remains today in state hands. After the end of the Second World War many of the furnishings were lost or stolen, several works of art were taken to the Berlin Art Depot, the agency for the administration of Soviet assets in Germany, and transferred in 1953 to the state museums in Berlin.
Attempts by the grandson of Malte zu Putbus, Franz zu Putbus, to get the family seat returned failed in court. The building is used today as a museum. The castle was renovated at the beginning of the 21st century at a cost of 7.9 million euros.
The two storey, plastered, brick edifice has a rectangular ground plan and four small corner towers. In the centre of the building in the old courtroom there is a 38 metre high central tower, erected later based on plans by Karl Friedrich Schinkel. Inside is a cantilevered circular staircase with 154 cast iron steps. The static forces of the heavy iron staircase are entirely absorbed by the side walls; because it virtually clamped to the tower.
From the observation platform, 145 metres above sea level (NN), on the roof of the tower, there is a panoramic view in all directions, especially over the south and east of Rügen. In clear visibility the island of Usedom may be seen.
Old hunting rifles are displayed in the 'Stags of the World' (Hirsche der Welt) exhibition as well as furniture from the 19th century. In addition there are temporary exhibitions, for example of paintings.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.