The Mausoleum of Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II is located next to the Cathedral of Graz. Turquoise domes stand out against the blue sky above the Mausoleum and, together with the Dom and Katharinenkirche church, define one of the city’s magnificent views.
In 1614 Ferdinand commissioned his Italian court painter and architect to erect a mausoleum and an adjacent St. Catherine's Church next to today's Cathedral. It was to become one of the most important buildings of the early 17th century in Austria. The oval dome above the tomb chapel was the first of its kind built outside Italy. The façade of St. Catherine's is composed with rich small details and demonstrates the taste of time at the threshold of Renaissance and Baroque. As a gable statue, St. Catherine of Alexandria is looking to the former Jesuit college opposite, where in 1585 Graz University was founded. After all, St. Catherine is worshipped as the patron saint of universities.
In 1619 Ferdinand was elected emperor and left Graz for Vienna. Construction work at the Mausoleum came to a standstill. So in 1637 Ferdinand was laid to rest in a half-finished tomb. The vault is dominated by an impressive sarcophagus of red marble. It is the final resting place of Ferdinand's mother, Maria of Bavaria. Just a plain tablet on the wall indicates the grave of Emperor Ferdinand.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.