The history of the Castle in Otmuchów dates back to the 12th century, when Pope Hadrian gave authority to the land to the Bishop of Wrocław, including the castle. Throughout the next centuries the castle gained its significance, when Bishop Preczlaw of Pogarell called Otmuchów the capital of the Duchy of Bishops. The castle changed its architectural style to that of the Renaissance during reconstruction work in the seventeenth century. In 1810 the partially devastated south-eastern wing of the residence was deconstructed. Currently two wings of the castle survive, both having four levels.
After the secularisation in 1810, the castle was left in ruins, while the lands were given off to the powerful House of Humboldt; the Duke of Humboldt used the material from the former, other two wings to repair the currently standing reconstructed wings. In the location of the former wings, the owner built a small castle-garden, while his brother Alexander von Humboldt sent in exotic trees, such as the smoketree, ginkgo, or the Canadian lime tree.
One of the most unusual parts of the residence's interior is located in the castle's two small cells of death, where prisoners were told to enter, and fall down a 20-metre drop, where there is a scripture Go you are free (Idź jesteś wolny); the sudden drop let to the stone courtyard with a sharpened birch perch.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.