The current headquarters of the the provincial government is one of the most beautiful palaces in the León. The Palacio de los Guzmanes construction took place between 1559 and 1572 in the lands where the old city wall used to stand. The construction work was never finished and the palace deteriorated until i tended up abandoned. In 1882 it was purchased by the provincial government for its recovery, and since then, a series of reforms have taken place.
It is a place of delicate elegance from the Renaissance, with flair and structural simplicity. Inside, the extraordinary courtyard leads up the stairs to the administrative offices. At the main entrance, there are two reliefs: one represents Saint Augustine washing Pilgrim Christ’s feet. The other is the Annunciation. Likewise, there’s the sculpture of the aforementioned bishop Juan Quiñones de Guzmán, work by Valentín Yugueros. In the façade there is the mysterious Guzmanes’ coat of arms, a bucket with six snakes getting out.
The building’s base is like a trapezoid, with four towers at the corners and an indoor courtyard with columns and beautiful stained glass windows at the second level. The palace has two parts: balconies in the upper one and barred windows in the lower one. The main façade makes up a third part, which is a gallery of glazed arches between Corinthian pilasters. The building’s floors are vertically connected through a spiral staircase located at the Southeast tower.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.