The Monastery of Saint Mary of Carracedo is an inactive abbey and palace complex, now in semi-restored state near the town of Carracedelo. Founded in the tenth century by the Benedictine order, it lies near the Way of Santiago in Northern Spain.
The first cenobitic community, the Monastery of San Salvador, was founded here around the year 990 by Bermudo II, King of the Kingdom of León and the Kingdom of Galicia, with the principal aim of sheltering monks seeking refuge from the campaigns of the Moorish general Almanzor. This, however, did not spare the monastery from being destroyed by Almanzor in his campaign of 997.
In 1138, the Infanta Sancha, sister of Alfonso VII of León, helped rebuild a monastery on the site, calling on monks from the neighboring Monastery of Santa María de Valverde near Corullón, to help her. The burgeoning monastery gained eminence, and control of lands, and also housed a royal palace. In 1203, the monastic order switched to the Cistercian order, affiliated with the Cîteaux, also calling itself the Monasterio de Santa María de Carracedo. Undergoing further depredations during the Napoleonic wars, the abbey was closed in 1835.
The monastery is listed on the Spanish heritage register as a Bien de Interés Cultural (BIC), having been declared a National Historic-Artistic Monument in 1929. The now uninhabited rooms and cloister of the semi-restored ruins exemplify a variety of styles from the centuries between the foundation and abandonment, contain a variety of styles including Romanesque, Gothic, and neoclassical. The sparingly-decorated stony buildings have a haunting emptiness.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.