Břevnov Monastery is a Benedictine archabbey founded by Saint Adalbert, the second Bishop of Prague, in 993 AD with the support of Duke Boleslav II of Bohemia. Hence the first Benedictine male monastery in Bohemia, it also has the oldest tradition of beer brewing in the Czech Republic, up to today, the Břevnovský Benedict beer is brewed here.
The first monks descended form Niederaltaich Abbey in Bavaria, filial monasteries were established at Broumov and Police in northern Bohemia.
During the Hussite Wars in the 1420s, abbot and convent fled to Broumov and the entire monastery including brewery were nearly destroyed. After the Thirty Years' War, the construction of a Baroque monastery complex has been realized under Abbot Othmar Daniel Zinke in 1708–1740 according to plans designed by Christoph Dientzenhofer. The interior of the buildings, including St Margaret's church, the conventual buildings and prelate's house was designed by his son Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer, with altarpieces by Petr Brandl, a ceiling fresco by Cosmas Damian Asam and stucco works by his brother Egid Quirin Asam. At the same time the annual production of beer reached up to 5,000 hl.
After the German occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1938, the monastery was seized by Wehrmacht forces during World War II and finally expropriated by the Communist Czechoslovak government in 1950. Abbot Anastáz Opasek (1913-1999) was condemned for high treason and espionage in a show trial, the monastery was dissolved and the remaining monks were deported, if they had not fled to Bavarian Braunau in Rohr Abbey re-established by their Broumov brothers in 1946.
The complex was used until 1990 by the StB, after the Velvet Revolution, was thoroughly repaired from 1991 until its 1000-years-jubilee in 1993. In 1997 it was visited by Pope John Paul II and was elevated to the rank of an Archabbey.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.