The Amalienburg is an elaborate hunting lodge in the grounds of Nymphenburg Palace. It was constructed in 1734-1739 by François de Cuvilliés, in Rococo style, for the later Holy Roman Emperor Charles VII and his wife, Maria Amalia of Austria.
Most of the ground floor is given over to the round Hall of Mirrors in the center of the building which mirrored walls reflect the external nature. It was designed by Johann Baptist Zimmermann and Joachim Dietrich (1690–1753). It creates an ethereal atmosphere in the Bavarian national colors of silver and blue.
In the south of the hall, the door leads to the electoral Rest room and the Blue Cabinet, with access to the privy chamber. The Blue Cabinet was the bedroom of the Electress and the pavilion also accommodates a kennel room for the hunting dogs.
North from the Hall of Mirrors is the entrance to the Pheasant room and the Hunting room. The Pheasant Room is bordering the kitchen. The kitchen is decorated with precious tiles from Delft which when being laid were mixed up by workers in the wrong order. The blue and white tiles in a Chinese style show flowers and birds. The Castrol stove (1735) built for the kitchen is a masonry construction with several fireholes covered by perforated iron plates. It is also known as a stew stove and was the first design that completely enclosed the fire.
In the central niche of the eastern facade, is a stucco sculpture by Johann Baptist Zimmermann, representing a scene with the hunting goddess Diana. The presentation introduces the image program in all facilities of the building. The attic was derived from 1737, also manufactured to a design by Zimmermann, with decorative vases, which disappeared at an unknown date. In 1992, they were recreated and designed by Hans Geiger, four adorn the entrance facade, twelve the garden side of the Amalienburg.
A platform with ornate lattice, which is fitted to the building in the center of the roof, served as a raised hide for pheasant hunting: The birds were driven to the Amalienburg from the former pheasant (now menagerie) building. Since the castle could be supplied by the kitchen of Nymphenburg Palace, the Amalienburg lacks private farm buildings in contrast to the two other park pavilions.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.