Beaufort Castle consists of the ruins of the medieval fortress and an adjacent Renaissance château. It probably originates from the 11th century when a small square-shaped fortress was built on a large rock protected by a moat and a second wall above the valley. A reference from 1192 indicates that Wauthtier de Wiltz et Beaufort was its first lord. During the first half of the 12th century, a keep was added and the gate was moved and enlarged. In 1348, the property came into the hands of the House of Orley after Adelaide of Beaufort married William of Orley. The Lords of Orley made significant extensions overlooking the valley. In 1477, Maximilian of Austria transferred the castle to Johann Bayer von Boppard after Johann von Orley-Beaufort committed a breach in trust. In 1539, Bernard von Velbrück became Lord of Beaufort through marriage and added the large Renaissance wing with cross-framed windows on top of the medieval walls.
The castle then came into the hands of Gaspard de Heu who had married Velbrück's granddaughter. A partisan of the Dutch resistance and the House of Orange, de Heu was captured by the Spaniards, accused of heresy and treason, and publicly executed in Luxembourg's fish market in 1593. Philip II of Spain confiscated the property and entrusted it to Peter Ernst Graf von Mansfeld, the governor of Luxembourg. Through marriage, the castle became the property of Henri de Chalon and then Gaspard du Bost-Moulin who had to sell it after being ruined by the Thirty Years War. Acting on behalf of the Spanish king, Johann Baron von Beck, governor of Luxembourg, bought most of the property in 1639. He initiated the construction of the Renaissance castle in 1643 but after he died of injuries from the Battle of Lens in 1648, the work was completed by his son in 1649.
After various changes in ownership including Pierre de Coumont (1774) and Jean Théodore Baron de Tornaco-Vervoy (1781), the castle was abandoned, fell into disrepair and at the beginning of the 19th century was even used as a quarry. In 1850, it was listed by the State as a national monument. In 1893, the new owner Henri Even restored the new building and, in 1928, Edmond Linkels cleared the rubble away and opened the medieval castle to visitors. In 1981, the property was acquired by the State.
The ruins of the medieval castle are open to visitors in summer season.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.