Villalonso Castle is one of the best conserved castles in the province of Zamora. The castle is a typical and notable example of 15th-century architecture; its construction may be attributed to Juan de Ulloa and his wife María de Sarmiento, whose coats of arms can be seen above the entrance gate. It played an important role during the siege of the queen Isabel the Catholic on Toro during her war against Juan 'La Beltraneja' and during the comunero rebelion against Carlos V.
In 1235 there was an earlier fortification at this site belonging to the Order of Alcántara. During the wars of the Catholic Kings against the King of Portugal, Villalonso Castle, along with other castles in the area, was in the hands of Pedro de Avendaño, in the name of the Portuguese king. At that time the count of Marialba, having fled the town of Toro, sought refuge in the castle shortly before the conquest of this city by the Castilian forces. The castle also played a role, although of small importance, in the War of the Communities.
The castle consisted of two enclosures and a wide moat still visible although mostly covered up.The outside enclosure has not been preserved. The interior one has been partially preserves. It is square and has cubes in the corners and a Tower of Homage, also square, in the centre of one of the sides, topped with a beautiful running crenellation.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.