Wettingen-Mehrerau Abbey is a Cistercian territorial abbey and cathedral on the outskirts of Bregenz. The first monastery at Mehrerau was founded by Saint Columbanus who, after he was driven from Luxeuil, settled here about 611 and built a monastery after the model of Luxeuil. A monastery of nuns was soon established nearby.
Little information survives on the history of either foundation up to 1079, when the monastery was reformed by the monk Gottfried, sent by abbot William of Hirsau, and the Rule of St. Benedict was introduced. In 1097-98 the abbey was rebuilt by Count Ulrich of Bregenz and re-settled by monks from Petershausen Abbey near Konstanz. During the 12th and 13th centuries the abbey acquired much landed property; by the middle of the 16th century it had the right of patronage for sixty-five parishes.
During the Thirty Years' War the abbey suffered from the devastation inflicted by the Swedes, who billetted soldiers here and exacted forced contributions; they also robbed the abbey of nearly all its revenues. Nevertheless, it often offered a free refuge to religious expelled from Germany and Switzerland.
By the 18th century however it had recovered and was once more in a very flourishing condition. In 1738 the church was completely rebuilt, as were the monastic buildings in 1774-81.
The existence of Mehrerau was threatened, as was that of other religious foundations, by the attacks upon monasteries of the Emperor Joseph II. However, Abbot Benedict was able to obtain the withdrawal of the decree of suppression, although it had already been signed.
However, the Treaty of Pressburg (1805) gave Vorarlberg, and with it the abbey, to Bavaria, which had already secularised its own religious houses in 1802-03. The Bavarian State dissolved the abbey in 1806. The monks were evicted and the valuable library was scattered; part of it was burnt on the spot. The forests and agricultural lands belonging to the abbey were taken by the State. In February 1807 the church was closed, and the other buildings were sold at auction. In 1808-09 the church was taken down and the material used to build the harbour of Lindau.
When the district came again under the rule of Austria, the surviving monastic buildings were used for various purposes until in 1853 they were bought, with the permission of Emperor Franz Joseph I, from the last owner, along with some pieces of land connected with them, by the abbot of the Cistercian Wettingen Abbey in Switzerland, a monastery which had been forcibly suppressed by the Canton of Aargau in 1841, and for thirteen years had been seeking a new home.
On 18 October 1854 the Cistercian Abbey of Wettingen-Mehrerau was formally opened. In the same year a monastery school was started. The monastic buildings were extended, and in 1859 a new Romanesque church was built; of particular note is the monument to Cardinal Hergenröther (died 1890), who is buried there.
In the second half of the 19th century Wettingen-Mehrerau took a key role in the reinvigoration of the Cistercian Order. It was a member first of the Swiss Congregation of the Order, then of the Austrian Congregation. In 1888, along with Marienstatt Abbey, it left the Austrian Congregation and together with the Swiss nunneries that were subordinate to it, formed the Mehrerau Congregation, which was responsible for new settlements in Sittich in Slovenia and Mogila in Poland.
In 1919 Wettingen-Mehrerau bought the pilgrimage church at Birnau and the nearby Schloss Maurach, which to this day it runs as a priory. In Mehrerau itself the community runs a sanatorium and the 'Collegium Bernardi', a secondary school with a boarding-house.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.