Thorberg Castle is a former Carthusian monastery, or charterhouse, now a prison, located in Krauchthal. Of the castle of the von Thorberg family, first documented in 1175, there remain only fragments of the foundations of the tower. The family died out in 1397 with Peter von Thorberg, the last knight: he bequeathed his many estates to the Carthusians, who converted the castle into a Carthusian monastery (or charterhouse).
At the Reformation in 1528 all the assets and property of the monastery passed to the state of Bern. The income from the Vogtei Thorberg was administered by a Vogt from the Bern patriciate. Until 1798 various care organisations, a prison and a hospital were accommodated in the monastery buildings.
In 1805 the former almshouse, which had provided shelter for the aged poor, was put to use as a reformatory, model school and ancillary (or overflow) lunatic asylum. To these were added in 1807 a further institution for the accommodation of those who 'had not really merited imprisonment'. The care organisations were replaced on 1 November 1849 by a workhouse or forced labour unit. The opening of the psychiatric clinic at Waldau near Bern made it possible to close the ancillary asylum in 1855. In 1893 a newly built cell block was opened as a prison; various other extensions were added during the 20th century, most recently in 1998.
From the Carthusian monastery there remain the women's guesthouse and the chapel, dating from 1510–15, the frescoes of which show the Adoration of the Magi and the Adoration of the Shepherds. A figure of the 'Man of Sorrows' by the sculptor Erhart Küng, master of works at the Berner Münster, formerly belonging to the charterhouse, is today kept in the Historisches Museum Bern.
The construction of the Baroque castle is from the time of the Landvogt. The old sandstone quarry nearby can still be seen, particularly the traces of hand-working and handtools.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.