Ulm Minster, like Cologne Cathedral, was begun in the Gothic era and not completed until the late 19th century. It is the tallest church in the world, and the 4th tallest structure built before the 20th century, with a steeple measuring 161.5 metres. From the top level at 143m there is a panoramic view of Ulm.
The foundation stone was laid in 1377. The planned church was to have three naves of equal height, a main spire on the west and two steeples above the choir. In 1392 Ulrich Ensingen (associated with Strasbourg Cathedral) was appointed master builder. It was his plan to make the western church tower the tallest spire, which it remains in the present day. The church, consisting of the longitudinal naves and the choir, covered by a temporary roof, was consecrated in 1405. However, structural damage, caused by the height of the naves and the weight of the heavy vaulting, necessitated a reconstruction of the lateral naves which were supported by a row of additional column in their centre.
In a referendum in 1530/31, the citizens of Ulm converted to Protestantism during the Reformation. Ulm Minster became a Lutheran church. In 1543 construction work was halted at a time when the steeple had reached a height of some 100 metres. The halt in the building process was caused by a variety of factors which were political and religious as well as economic. One result was economic stagnation and a steady decline, preventing major public expenditure.
In 1817 work resumed and the three steeples of the church were completed. Finally, on 31 May 1890 the building was completed.
A devastating air raid hit Ulm on 17 December 1944, which destroyed virtually the entire town west of the church to the railway station and north of the church up to the outskirts. The church itself was barely damaged. However, almost all the other buildings of the town square (Münsterplatz) were severely hit and some 80% of the medieval centre of Ulm was destroyed.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.