The Cathedral of Saint Lawrence was founded in the High Middle Ages but rebuilt in the late 15th century, with the façade completed in 1517. It is the seat of the Diocese of Lugano, and dedicated to Saint Lawrence of Rome.
The church is known on this site from 818. In 1078 it was made a collegiata, becoming a cathedral in 1888. The original Romanesque building was oriented the opposite way to the present church, as is shown by remains of the apse discovered under the current parvise. In the 15th century the church was expanded and the entrance moved to the present position, while the open roof was covered by a groin vaulted ceiling.
There were extensive renovations in 1905-1910, when some Baroque chapels were demolished and the interior received frescoes by Ernesto Rusca.
The church's main feature is its facade, which was inspired by Giovanni Antonio Amadeo's Certosa di Pavia. It is made of white stone from Saltrio and Viggiù and of Carrara marble, and is divided in three sectors by four false columns supporting the entablature. In the middle sector is the main portal and a large rose window with decoration of cherubs executed after 1578. The decorations of the portals' frames are of high quality, with figures of puttoes, birds and lion-protomes. The central portal, called the 'Saints Portal', has five medallions with reliefs, depicting four saints and, in the middle, the Virgin with Child. Between the portal's frame and the entablature are two angels carrying torches, resembling the decoration of the Roman triumphal arches.
Between the portals, inside square frames, are busts of the Four Evangelists and of the Kings Solomon and David. The entablature frieze has 17 figures, including biblical characters and the Sibyls. Also present are animal figures, while a restoration in 2002 showed traces of a fresco. The main portal of the Romanesque church is now moved to the sacristy.
The bell tower dates, in its lower part, to the Romanesque church. The two upper storey are in the Baroque style with an octagonal lantern covered by a cupola, designed by Costante Tencalla.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.