Holstentor (Holsten Gate) is the most well-know symbol of Lübeck. The city gate was built between 1464 and 1478 along the lines of Dutch models. Its purpose served both as a form of defence and as a form of prestige. Above the round-arched gateway entrance of the twin-towered construction, the inscription CONCORDIA DOMI FORIS PAX (unity at home, peace abroad) can clearly be seen in golden letters.
Nearly every visitor is astonished by its odd leaning angle and its sunken south tower. But, during the 15th century people weren"t quite as knowledgeable on 'foundation work' as they are today. As only the towers are standing on a 'gridiron' with the heavy middle tract resting upon them, the towers unevenly subsided into the marshy ground.
In 1863, the Gate looked an appalling sight. With a majority of just one single vote, the city parliament decided to restore the gate and began extensive restoration efforts. It wasn"t until 70 years later that the subsidence could be stopped. Most recent renovations were carried out between 2004 and 2006. Here, the slate roof, terracotta frieze and parts of the brickwork were replaced. Inside the gate historic ship models, suits of armour, weapons, legal instruments and merchandise give a brief glimpse into the time of the Hanseatic League. Two majestic lions stand guarding the city in front of the Holsten Gate.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.