Vorau Priory was founded in 1163 by Margrave Ottokar III. The monastery quickly became an religious and cultural center of Eastern Styria, but it was badly damaged by fires in 1237 and 1384. Vorau was located on the border to Hungary and therefore repeatedly faced military threats. The monastery was fortified and armed in the 1450s to defend the local population. The monastery was rebuilt into the Baroque style in 17th and 18th centuries. The fortifications were demolished and moat filled in 1844.

Vorau monastery was again damaged by fire in 1945 during the World War II. Today it is a conference center and parish church. There is also a notable library containing 40 000 volumes, including 415 manuscripts.

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Vorau 2a, Vorau, Austria
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Founded: 1163
Category: Religious sites in Austria

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www.stift-vorau.at

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Beckov Castle

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.