The Château de Meung-sur-Loire, located next to the collegial church, was the country residence of the Bishops of Orléans. It was built and destroyed several times. The oldest still existing parts date from the 13th century and were built by Manassès de Seignelay (bishop from 1207 to 1221). Still standing are the main rectangular plan building, flanked by three towers, a fourth having been destroyed.
During the Hundred Years' War, the building was transformed into a fortress; it was taken from the English by Joan of Arc on 14 June 1429. At the end of the 15th century and start of the 16th century, building to the north incorporated a tower with drawbridge. The castle was abandoned from the Wars of Religion until the start of the 18th century, when Bishop Fleuriau d'Armenonville undertook the transformation of the structure into a comfortable residence.The rear façade was rebuilt in the Classical style by d'Armenonville. Beneath the castle are dungeons, a chapel and various medieval torture instruments, including one used for water torture.
In the middle of the 18th century, a wing was added to the southeast with a staircase serving the upper floors of the wing. In 1784, the chapel was built in the Neoclassical style, with sculpture by Delaistre. The two pavilions in the grounds are contemporary with this chapel.References:
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.