Ludwigslust Palace had its origins in a simple hunting lodge within a day's ride of the ducal capital, Schwerin. In 1724 Prince Christian Ludwig, the son of the Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, decided to build a hunting lodge on this site, near a hamlet called Klenow. Even after he became duke in his turn in 1747, he passed most of his time at this residence, which he called Ludwigslust ('Ludwig's joy').
In 1765, Duke Friederich made Ludwigslust the capital of the duchy instead of Schwerin. Consequently the little town that had already grown in the service of the schloss, was further expanded, and a cornerstone for a new, grander residenz was laid directly behind the old hunting box in 1768. In the years 1772-1776 Ludwigslust was rebuilt to late Baroque plans by Johann Joachim Busch. The structure is brick, clad in the local sandstone; forty over-lifesize allegorical figures, also in sandstone, by Rudolf Kaplunger, alternating with vases, crown the low attic above the cornice.
The interiors of Ludwigslust are more fully neoclassical. The grand reception rooms are on the piano nobile, or Festetage ('Reception floor'), above a low ground floor that contained guestrooms. The Goldener Saal ('Gilded Hall') in the central block rises through two storeys, with a colossal order of Corinthian columns and massive decorations carried out in stucco and the innovative moldable and modelable paper-maché called Ludwigsluster Carton; it is used today for summertime concerts. One flanking range was semi-public, with a sequence of antechamber, salon and audience chamber, and a gallery. The opposite range was semi-private, with the Duke's drawing-room and bedchamber (hung with framed miniatures), a cabinet and a gallery with a porcelain chimneypiece.
The palace's surrounding Schlosspark of 120 ha. was laid out with formal canals, fountains and a frankly artificial cascade, tamed of all the wildness that a later, Romantic generation would venerate; it was built according to sketches by the French architect Jean-Laurent Le Geay, who had laid out the formal garden at Schwerin in 1749-55, but was quickly overtaken at Ludwigslust by his assistant, Johann Joachim Busch, who began the work in 1763. The trees laid out in the pattern and at the scale of Bernini's colonnades in Piazza San Pietro have disappeared, but there are the neoclassical stone bridge designed by Busch about 1780, with a cascade that falls across a lip so perfectly regular that it has the name Der Waltze (the 'Roll'), a grotto built as a ruin, a Gothic chapel, two mausoleums and a monument to a favourite horse.
In 1837 Grand Duke Paul Friedrich returned Schwerin to its capital status. As a summer residence, Schloss Ludwigslust was preserved from further alterations. In the mid-nineteenth century much of the park was re-landscaped in the more naturalistic English landscape garden manner, under the direction of a garden designer with an extensive clientele among the German aristocracy, Peter Joseph Lenné. Water near the schloss was recast in more naturalistic manner and the surrounding woodland edges were varied, with clumps of trees as outliers, but the main axia Hofdamenallee centered on the palace, still stretches dead straight through the woods, and the narrow Great Canal, laid out at an angle to one side, still extends a kilometer and a half.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.