The Sandomierz Royal Castle was built on a slope of Vistula River by Casimir III the Great and extended in the 16th century. The original building was blown up in 1656, leaving only the west wing standing. It was later transformed into a Renaissance styled residence with the west wing preserved as a museum.
The 14th-century castle was built on the site of the existing stronghold in the 10th century. Between 1146-1166 it was the seat of Prince Henry of Sandomierz, son of Bolesław III Wrymouth. The Gothic castle was built by Casimir the Great. The remnants of the Gothic structure are visible in the foundations of the octagonal tower of the south corner, which is the oldest part of the monument. The existing tower was built during the reign of Casimir IV Jagiellon in the 15th century as an integral part of the so-called Great House, the seat of the prince.
During the reign of Sigismund I the Old and Sigismund II Augustus, the castle was enlarged. The Sigismund the Old's cornerstone preserved above the entrance on the east side of the array. It bears the date 1520 and a cartouche with Sigismund's eagle. The construction was supervised by the Royal architect Benedyct Sandomierski, who erected two-storey arcaded cloisters around a closed courtyard.
During the Deluge the castle was blown up by the retreating Swedish troops of general Sincler. About fifty Poles, who entered the abandoned castle, were killed. The survived western wing of the castle was later rebuilt during the reign of king John III Sobieski between 1680-1688.
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.