The present Ekenäs castle was built in the 17th century on top of the foundations of a medieval fortress from the 14th century. Ekenäs is one of the best preserved renaissance castles in Sweden with its three impressive shingled towers. Its military character is clearly shown by the surrounding moat and its situation on a cliff on the shore of a lake which has since been drained. One of the first owners of the property was Svante Sture, who lived during the reign of King Erik XIV. Sture built the first stonehouse built on this rock in 1562. Baron Peder Banér, councellor of the King, owned Ekenäs in 1630 - 1644. The castle was built in a Renaissance style.
Ekenäs is, and has always been, a privately owned castle. Visitors are welcome year-round, however, the castle itself is only open during the summer. A jousting tournament and Medieval festival has been held here in May/June every year since 1993.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.