Top Historic Sights in Ostend, Belgium

Explore the historic highlights of Ostend

Saint Peter and Paul Church

Sint-Petrus-en-Pauluskerk (Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul) is built on the ashes of a previous church that occupied the site. King Leopold II enthusiastically supported a plan to build a new and more magnificent church. Construction started in 1899 and was completed and consecrated by Bishop Waffelaert on August 31, 1908. Its stained glass windows were destroyed during the two World Wars and were replaced by windows ...
Founded: 1899-1908 | Location: Ostend, Belgium

Fort Napoleon

Fort Napoleon in Ostend is a polygonal fort built in the Napoleonic era. It has recently been restored and is open to the public. France had occupied the Austrian Netherlands (a territory roughly corresponding to the borders of modern Belgium) during 1792 and 1793 in the Flanders Campaign of the French Revolutionary Wars. During the War of the Fifth Coalition, Napoleon Bonaparte expected a British assault from the sea on ...
Founded: 1811 | Location: Ostend, Belgium

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Externsteine Stones

The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.

In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.

The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.

The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.