Julita Manor and open-air museum is located at the site of former Cistercian Julita abbey. The monastery was originally founded in 1160 at Viby, close to Sigtuna, but under the patronage of King Knut Eriksson, who donated land and a right to parts of the fishing at Älvkarleby, it was moved in 1180 to Säby by the lake Öljaren in Julita. The monastery was therefore also known as Säby, or Saba in Latin. It continued to receive rich donations from King Erik Knutsson (1210-1216), and later from other members of the aristocracy and royal circles. It was finally the owner of some 80 farms, mostly in Södermanland. At the time of the Protestant Reformation, King Gustavus Vasa appropriated the abbey and gave it in fief to Olof Arvidsson, a bailiff in Nyköping, in 1527. The secular estate thus created later had various possessors, including members of the Palbitzki and Lewenhaupt families.
In 1944, the Nordic Museum assumed the ownership of the estate in accordance with the will of the last private owner, Artur Bäckström. The manor is now a large open air museum, incorporating a small part of the abbey in the basement of one of its wings, which is open to the public. Together with another small building originally located outside the cloisters, this is all that can be seen of the abbey today, though archaeological excavations have revealed the full extent of the main abbey buildings.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.