Hohentübingen Castle

Tübingen, Germany

Hohentübingen Castle rises above the city atop of the 372m high Spitzberg hill. The castle is a mighty renaissance construction with four wings and a round tower. First mention of a castle on this site dates back to 1078, referring to the former medieval castle. The rulers of Tübingen, who were promoted to Counts Palatine in the 12th century, lived in the castle until 1342 when they sold it to the Counts of Württemberg.

Hohentübingen Castle’s importance as the residence of the Dukes of Württemberg began to diminish in the 16th century. Beginning in the mid-18th century, the university acquired its first rooms in the castle and in 1816 the King of Würrtemberg, Wilhelm I, transferred ownership of the castle to the university. The university library of nearly 60,000 bands was temporarily housed in the hall of knights, a chemistry laboratory was set up in the kitchen, and an astronomical observatory was housed in the northeast tower.

After thorough renovation of the castle from 1979 – 1994, the rooms of the castle were made available to the Cultural Studies and Archeology Departments of the Eberhard-Karls-University. Current displays of the collections of these departments can be found in the east and north wings, as well as in the pentagon-tower of the Museum of the Hohentübingen Castle. Behind the fountain at the back of the courtyard, a tunnel leads through the west wing of the castle to the Schänzle (little entrenchment). Between the tunnel and the next doorway you will be able to look down upon the western castle moats, the so called „rabbit hole“.

The museum consists of a permanent exhibitionm which includes the collections of pre- and early history, classical Archeology, Egyptology, Ancient Orientalism, Numismatics, Ethnology as well as the Replica Collection (replicas of famous Greek and Roman sculptures). The work of the different institutes is documented on the basis of important findings and results of latest research and shown in special exhibitions.

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Beckov Castle

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.