From the late 16th century onward, the Abbey of St. Ulrich and St Afra was one of the 40-odd self-ruling imperial abbeys of the Holy Roman Empire and, as such, was a virtually independent state. The territory of that state was very fragmented: the abbey of St. Ulrich and St Afra proper enclaved within the Free Imperial City of Augsburg, and several small territories disseminated throughout the region. At the time of its dissolution in 1802, the Imperial Abbey covered 112 square kilometers and had about 5,000 subjects.
The Benedictine monastery was preceded by an original foundation established at an uncertain date, but at least as early as the 10th century (and in its turn quite possibly a refoundation of a still earlier one from the 5th or 6th centuries), by the Kollegiatstift St. Afra, a community of the priests charged with the care of St Afra's Church (now the Basilica of Saints Ulrich and Afra), where the relics of Saint Afra were venerated, and next door to which the community premises were built.
Between 1006 and 1012, Bruno, Bishop of Augsburg, removed the canons to the cathedral chapter and gave the premises to Benedictine monks whom he brought from Tegernsee Abbey, thus turning it into a Benedictine monastery. It was granted Imperial immediacy as an Imperial abbey in 1577, but this status was bitterly contested by the bishops of Augsburg, and the legal conflict was resolved in favour of the abbey only in 1643/44.
The abbey was dissolved in 1802 during the secularisation of Bavaria. The city of Augsburg and the state of Bavaria divided its territory between them. The monks however were permitted to remain in the premises of the dissolved monstery. In 1805 a French military hospital was installed here; after six monks, including the abbot, had died of infectious diseases, the remainder moved into a private house. The hospital was replaced in 1807 by a Bavarian cavalry barracks, known as the Ulrichskaserne.
The barracks remained here until World War II, when in 1944 the buildings were largely destroyed. The remains were not cleared until 1968–71. On the site the 'Haus St. Ulrich' has stood since 1975, an academy and pastoral centre of the Diocese of Augsburg. The sarcophaguses of Saint Afra and Saint Ulrich are preserved in the crypt.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.