Schrine of St. Maurus is a religious relic of European significance.
Order Tour Code: C WW7
There is exhibited a relic of the European significance, the Shrine of St. Maurus. It was made in the 13th century for the Benedictine abbey at Florennes (in Belgium) to contain the mortal remains of St. John the Baptist, St. Maurus and St. Timothy.
8 HOUR ROUND TRIP
The castle at Becov was founded in the early 14th century by the lords of Osek who possessed it then along with the surrounding demesne for almost two hundred years. The castle experienced its most significant development under the Pluhs of Rabstejn in the late 15th century and in the first half of the 16th century. The highest position on the hilltop is occupied by the Gothic castle which was improved with stone portals and mural paintings during the Renaissance remodelling. The courtyard of the castle is skirted by the quadrangular chapel tower, as well as by the Pluh's Palace and stables. Below the castle there is the 18th-century mansion whose central portion dates back to the Renaissance period. The Romantic adjustments according to the plans by the architects Zítek and Mocker were only implemented to a minimal extent.
The castle consists of the outer ward, from which merely its outlines are known, and the castle core situated on a rocky hilltop. The castle's entrance was guarded by a circular keep. The oblong tower on the opposite side was probably later enhanced with the Visitation chapel. In the second half of the 14th century a massive quadrangular tower called donjon was added to the north-western corner of the central portion and surrounded with a ward. The architectural development of the castle was concluded by erecting an early Renaissance section connecting both quadrangular towers.
The castle's main Visitation chapel, along with its family sepulchre, was built in the smaller oblong tower probably between 1352 and 1357. In the late 14th century its walls and vaults were enhanced with exceptional and impressive Gothic paintings depicting scenes from the New Testament. The paintings have preserved to date.
The donjon in the four-story residential tower of the castle bears testimony to the high aesthetic requirements and comfort of the living in those days. The main features of the donjon include its demanding portals, hearths with flat brickwork chimneys, paintings in the master's chambers, the system of lavatories on corbels, unique Gothic and Renaissance furnishings of the rooms, painted timber ceiling and Baroque roof timbers.
To meet their representative and social needs, the Pluhs of Rabštejn connected both towers with a new wing consisting of a ground floor and two stories, where dining halls with large windows were situated.
The late Baroque mansion was completed in the mid-18th century by Dominik Ondrej Kounic, the successor to the Questenberk family. This unusually laid-out site is dominated by the tower erected on the ground plan of the so-called Lacron's bastion dating back to the Thirty Years' War. The Baroque bridge leads to the early Renaissance entrance portal which was provided with a drawing bridge in the past.
The schrine of St Maurus
A relic of the European significance, the Shrine of St Maurus represents the most valuable exhibit of the site. It was made in the first quarter of the 13th century for the Benedictine abbey at Florennes (in what is now Belgium) to contain the mortal remains of St John the Baptist, St Maurus and St Timothy. The wooden case is covered with lavish goldsmith's adornments. The statuettes representing the twelve apostles, Jesus Christ and St Maurus, as well as reliefs depicting the scenes from the life of St John the Baptist, St Maurus and St Timothy on the shrine's roof were made of gilded silver plates. The adornments also include filigrees made of gilded copper and studded with jewels and gems, as well as enamel plates representing scenes from the Old Testament and various geometrical motifs. During the French Revolution the monastery was looted, with the shrine laid aside to the local church. In 1838 Alfred de Beaufort bought the relic from the ecclesiastical authorities and had it repaired. Following an exhibition in 1888 the shrine was transferred to Bečov. Since the Beauforts were members of NSDAP and SS, they had to leave the Czech Republic at the end of the Second World War. Before leaving the country they hid the shrine below the floor of the castle chapel. As a result of a yearlong investigation the badly damaged shrine was rediscovered here on 5 November 1985 by the Czech criminal policemen. Following demanding and long restoration works the shrine is now presented in an air-conditioned safe deposit room with an insurmountable security system. A unique exhibition offers information about the relic's eventful history and challenging restoration.
The central portion of the site was guarded by the circular keep, the last refuge of the castle's owners. This tower had to be lowered to a large extent in 1623 due to its poor condition. In the 19th century, its preserved 6-meter-high portion was transformed into an observation gallery.
Since the castle ceased meeting the requirements of the Renaissance period in the mid-16th century, the Pluh's Palace was erected here, consisting of three houses. The preserved sections include the vaulted ground floor and interesting archive rooms with built-in wooden cabinets on the upper floor. The representative and residential Pluh's Palace later experienced a remodelling in the Classical style. In its wall above the mansion's gardens it keeps the mass of the Gothic battlements.
THE SIGHTSEEING TOURS:
The first tour presents a unique Romanesque relic of the European significance - the Shrine of St Maurus, along with the exhibition describing in detail the importance and fate of this exceptional antiquity.
The second tour offers the mansion's rooms which are furnished to present high-quality works of art, predominantly from the collections of the site's last owners, the ducal lineage of Beaufort-Spontin.