Weikersheim Palace (Schloss Weikersheim) was built in the 12th century, however the exact year is not known. The palace was the traditional seat of the princely family of Hohenlohe. In the 16th century, Count Wolfgang II inherited Weikersheim after a division of estates and made it his main home. He converted the moated castle into a magnificent Renaissance palace, whose splendid rooms have been preserved with their furnishings. Aside from the large chandelier and the Lambris painting added in the 18th century, the banqueting hall remains in its original state. Princess Elisabeth Friederike Sophie's audience room was known as the 'beautiful room' because of its exquisite furnishings.
The baroque interior and palace garden date from 1710. The garden in particular with its axial arrangement and many statues exemplifies the baroque style. A permanent exhibition on the theme of alchemy is on display in the former palace kitchen, enabling visitors to discover more about Count Wolfgang II von Hohenlohe and his alchemy laboratory. The double-winged, arcaded orangery from 1723 has a total length of just under 100 metres and marks the point where the palace garden takes over from the untamed surrounding nature. An elaborate series of sculpted figures adorns the garden at Weikersheim Palace. This 'garden kingdom' includes the four seasons, the four elements and the four winds, the gods of the planets around the Hercules fountain, a number of other classical gods and a 'court' of dwarfs.
The palace has been owned by the state of Baden-Württemberg since 1967 when the palace was bought from the estate of Prince Constantin von Hohenlohe, who had encouraged arts-related activities at the palace. Today the palace is home to the Jeunesses Musicales Germany during the summer and the Weikersheim Think Tank. It is also used for large gatherings and weddings.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.