Rüeggisberg Priory was founded between 1072 and 1076 by Lütold of Rümligen. He granted the property and estates to Cluny Abbey making it the first Cluniac house in the German-speaking world. Under Cuno of Siegburg and Ulrich of Zell the first cells were built. Construction of the Romanesque church lasted from about 1100 to about 1185, of which there still remain the north transept and parts of the crossing tower. The Priory was dependent on Cluny Abbey and normally had a prior and two to four monks from Cluny. In 1148, it had two priories that were dependent on Rüeggisberg, in Röthenbach im Emmental and Alterswil.
At its peak the priory controlled estates throughout what is now the Canton of Bern, including Guggisberg, Alterswil, Plaffeien and Schwarzenburg as well as scattered farm houses and vineyards on the shores of Lake Biel.
The priory was one of the most important monastic houses of Switzerland during the Middle Ages, but in the late medieval period decline set in, and in 1484 it was incorporated into the newly built college of the Augustinian Canons of Bern Minster. By 1532, when much of the town was destroyed in a fire, the Priory was abandoned. The church was shut down in 1541 during the Reformation. The monastic buildings thereafter served as a source of building stone and partly as a barn.
Between 1938 and 1947 on an archaeological dig the old foundations were again laid bare, as may be seen in the little museum next to the rectory.
The ruins are generally open to the public, though they may be reserved for picnics or other gatherings. Each November an advent market is held in the ruins and over the years a variety of open air plays and concerts have been held here. Between Easter and September, church services are held monthly in the ruins.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.