Medieval castles in North Rhine-Westphalia

Nörvenich Castle

The Schloss Nörvenich was established in around 1400 by Wilhelm von Vlatten and was remodeled on numerous occasions over the centuries. In the 15th century, the property fell through marriage to Konrad Scheiffart von Merode-Bornheim. Wilhelm Scheiffart von Merode and his wife Agnes von Bylandt enlarged the house in the middle of the 16th century to the West Wing. At the end of the 16th century, the castle fell thro ...
Founded: 1400 | Location: Nörvenich, Germany

Münchhausen Castle

Münchhausen Castle was mentioned already in 893 AD when it was owned by the Abbey of Prüm in Lorraine. Later the castle was used as a customs office. The 12th and 13th century walls, tower and some buildings have survived. Today the castle is a horse farm with restaurant.
Founded: 9th century | Location: Wachtberg, Germany

Lüftelberg Castle

Burg Lüftelberg is first mentioned in old documents in 1260. In the 15th century it was extended into a castle with four round towers and surrounded by a moat.  The castle obtained its current appearance as of 1730. The court architect Johann Heinrich Roth constructed a Baroque building with high double pitched roofs and a beautiful portal, but used the available walls and integrated three of the four older round tower ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Meckenheim-Lüftelberg, Germany

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.