Altenburg castle is perched on top of Bamberg's highest hill and is one of Bamberg's major landmarks. The castle was first mentioned in 1109 and was used at this time as a refuge. In the 14th and 15th centuries it served as a richly furnished residence for Bamberg's bishops, but was almost completely destroyed in 1553 by margrave Alfred Alcibiades von Brandenburg-Kulmbach in the second margrave war.
The only remains of the medieval construction are the 33 metre keep from the 13th century and parts of the surrounding wall. An iron basket hangs from the upper section of the tower which was used to send fire signals to Giechburg castle near Scheßlitz, 20km away.
In the Romance period, Altenburg was rebuilt. E.T.A. Hoffmann retreated to one of the wall towers in 1812, to which the 'Hoffmannsklause' restaurant in the new building of the former palace (1901/02) owes its name. The terrace commands a panoramic view of the episcopal town and the surrounding region.
The restaurant was formed after the takeover by the 'Altenburg club'. The premises were located as it is today in the cultivation of the gatehouse. The kitchen, a vaulted room was built in 1834. In the last quarter of the 19th Century the premises has been newly decorated. Lippel family took over the restaurant in 1972.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.