The first sanctuary on the site was a small wooden construction that was replaced by a stone construction in the 15th century. Because of the unique position on a high shore the church tower was also used as a lighthouse.
The present appearance is mostly from 1500-1700’s. During reconstruction work in 1760-80, the choir, vestry and tower were added to the original building. In middle of nineteenth century the Baltic-German noblemen of Padise (then Padis) and Leetse manors wanted to celebrate the coronation of the new czar, Alexander II, so the tower was built even higher and supported by side pillars. Only the western portal of the original church has been preserved to date.
Inside the church the most outstanding elements are a pulpit carved by Johann Valentin Rabe and a painted shrine donated by the landlord of Põllküla.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.