St. John's Abbey in the Thurtal was a Benedictine monastery originally established in the mid-12th century. The oldest written record of it is dated October 4, 1152, when Pope Eugene III took the monastery into his protection. The pope confirmed the monastery's possessions and free election of its abbot and Vogt.
On October 24, 1178, Pope Alexander III confirmed the abbey's extended possessions. In 1227/1228, the king became Vogt of the abbey. In December 1231, Emperor Frederick II issued a Golden Bull confirming his obligations as Vogt of the abbey.
The abbey also frequently bought land in the territory which is now the principality of Liechtenstein, most notably the prominent Red House in Vaduz, which it purchased in 1525 from the heirs of the medieval owners, the Vaisli family.
The abbey's high point was during the 14th century. It survived the Reformation, but lost its independence in 1555, when it became a priory of St. Gall's Abbey.
In 1626 the buildings were severely damaged by fire, and the monks were afflicted by a mysterious illness and the community moved along the valley to a new location at Sidwald near Nesslau, since then known as Neu St. Johann. On the site of the old monastery a parish church was built, with a priest's house.
The new monastery buildings in Nesslau, which were completed by 1680, were in a magnificent Rococo style. Toggenburg was an area of mixed denominations, and the priory was an instrument of the Counter-Reformation under the leadership of the Prince-Abbots of St. Gallen.
The priory was dissolved in 1805. The former monastic church became the Roman Catholic parish church of the parish of Neu St. Johann. The remaining buildings now accommodate a remedial educational centre known as the Johanneum.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.