The Roman Villa Borg is a reconstructed Roman villa rustica. Discovered at the end of the 19th century, the site was excavated in the late 1980s. Reconstruction work, which began in the mid-1990s, was virtually completed in late 2008 although further excavation work is still continuing. The site is a popular tourist attraction with some 50,000 visitors per year.
It was Johann Schneider, a local schoolteacher, who around the year 1900 first came across the site after noticing unnatural mounds in the area. He soon discovered the remains of walls as well as Roman pottery. Partly as a result of the World Wars, little was done until the mid-1980s when the Saarland authorities fenced the site off after illegal excavations started to threaten its survival. Systematic excavation work began in 1987. The excavations soon revealed evidence of pre-Roman inhabitation directly below the foundations of the Roman villa. Not only were there traces of Iron Age structures but also of Beaker culture settlements. Tools dating from the Neolithic period were also found on the site.
The site is that of a villa rustica or agricultural facility consisting of a large palatial residence or pars urbana and a pars rustica or economic area. There had been very little activity on the site since Roman times with the result that the Roman remains are still in very good condition.
Reconstruction work was designed to present an authentic representation of the buildings as they originally stood so that visitors could better appreciate archaeology and antiquity. In addition to the findings of excavation work, similar sites (such as Echternach in Luxembourg) were taken into account as was pertinent ancient (e.g. Vitruvius) and modern literature. The reconstructed buildings now stand on the Roman foundation walls, revealing their probable appearance in the 2nd to 3rd century.
The current buildings comprise the baths which are fully functional consisting of a frigidarium (cold bath), caldarium (hot bath) and tepidarium (tempered bath) together with latrines, a dressing room and a relaxation area. There is also the manor or main building with a large reception hall and a number of adjacent rooms in which the most important finds from the site are displayed.
The gardens, which have been designed as authentically as possible on the basis of pollen analysis and relevant literature, consist of a herb garden with spices and remedial plants as well as a kitchen garden with fruits and vegetables. The rose garden and the inner court garden are also based on Roman models and give an idea of Roman garden architecture with their fountains and footpaths.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.