In 955, Almería gained the title of medina ('city') by the Caliph of Cordoba, Abd ar-Rahman III: construction of the defensive citadel, located in the upper sector of the city, began in this period. The alcazaba, provided not only with walls and towers but also with squares, houses and a mosque, was to be also the seat of the local government, commanding the city and the sea nearby.
The complex was enlarged under caliph Al-Mansur and, later, under Al-Jairan, first king of the independent taifa of Almería (1012–1028).
The first line of walls is a wide enclosure corresponding to the first Muslim military camp, used as shelter for the population in case of siege. For this task it was provided with large cisterns.
The first enclosure is separated by the second one by the so-called Muro de la Vela ('Wall of the Sail'), taking its name from a bell that warned the population in case of events such as the arrival of a ship in the port, danger, fires etc. This wall was built by King Charles III of Spain.
In the second enclosure was the residence for the governors, their soldiers and their servants. It included also the mosque, baths, tanks, tents etc.
The third enclosure, the most external, is also the most modern in the complex. After the Christian conquest of Almería, the Catholic monarchs Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon had a castle built in the most elevated sector of the town, more apt to resist the new gunpowder artillery.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.