Château de Lacassagne

Saint-Avit-Frandat, France

The Château de Lacassagne is thought to date from the latter half of the 15th century, with additions and alterations made in every century until the 19th century. It originated as an ancient salle (hall) and was altered in the 15th century with the addition of a spiral staircase and windows. A residence was added in the 17th century. On the first floor, in a room known as the Salle des Chevaliers de Malte, the painted decor was done between 1620 and 1640 for Jean Bertrand de Luppé, prior of St Gilles, and intended as a replica of the grand council hall of the Knights of St John of Malta. Among the pictures are copies of Matteo da Leccio's paintings representing the attack on Valletta by the Turks in 1565. The originals were in the council chamber of the Grandmaster's Palace in Valletta, Malta and were destroyed by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1798.

In the 19th century, a west wing was added to the main building. The castle is not open to the public.

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Founded: 15th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in France

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Beckov Castle

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.