Sigismund, Archduke of Austria, had this modest castle (Landesfürstliche Burg) built in central location of Meran in the second half of the 15th century. He probably used this fortress behind the town hall as his private city residence. However, this ensemble of buildings rather resembles an artistically designed, solid building with low enclosure than a fully-developed castle. For this reason it is simply often referred to as “residence”.
Up to the 16th century the Prince’s Castle remained a royal residence. In 1516 also Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, resided in the castle. As the building repeatedly changed hands, it started deteriorating in the course of the centuries. In 1875 the city of Merano purchased the building. Between 1878 and 1880 a restoration period followed, based on the drawings of the internationally famous architect Friedrich von Schmidt, who also directed the renovations of the Dome of Vienna. When these renovations came to an end, the castle was opened also for the public. Today it hosts the Prince’s Castle Museum.
Its wood-panelled ancient parlours, tiled stoves, bedrooms and maiden rooms provide an interesting insight into the life in Mediaeval times. The furniture, however, dates back to the Gothic and Renaissance periods. Also some weapons such as lances and halberds have been preserved. Moreover there is a little chapel decorated with frescoes dating back to the 16th century.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.