Archeological investigations have shown that the Lauterstein castle was built in the second half of the 12th century. It was first mentioned in writing in 1304 when a document named a Johannis in Lutirstein of the ministerial family of Erdmannsdorf in the castle. Its purpose was the protection of a medieval trade route between Leipzig and Prague across the Ore Mountains.
The family of Schellenberg became lords of Lauenstein in the early 14th century. They lost their influence in 1323 after they lost a feud with Altzella Abbey, and margrave Frederick the Brave enfeoffed the burgraves Albrecht IV von Altenburg und Otto I von Leisnig, who had helped to support him and the abbey, with Lauterstein castle and the town of Zöblitz.
Kaspar von Berbisdorf from Freiberg, an owner of mines and metalworks in the Ore Mountains, bought the lordship of Lauterstein for 4000 guilders from burgrave Otto II of Leisnig and Altenburg in 1434. His descendants Bastian and Melchior divided the lordship and the castle in 1497 into Oberlauterstein and Niederlauterstein. A fire damaged the castle in 1530, but it was rebuilt within a few years. In 1559, Prince-elector Augustus forced the Berbisdorf family to sell castle and lordship Lauterstein for 107,784 guilders and installed the administration of a Saxon Amt in the castle.
According to local tradition, on 14. March 1639, three Swedish horsemen set fire to the castle. It was not rebuilt and has remained a ruin since then. The administrative seat of Amt Lauterstein moved to Marienberg and later to Olbernhau and Zöblitz.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.