Windeck 'old' Castle was built around 1200 by the lords of Windeck. The family, probably of Franconian origin and based in the Ortenau, owned wealthy allodial estates and held numerous fiefs from various liege lords, such as the empire, the Prince-Bishopric of Straßburg, the counts of Eberstein as well as the Vogtei of Schwarzach Abbey as an Afterlehen of the burgraves of Nuremberg. The first documentary evidence dates to 1212 when a certain Melchior von Windeck comes to light, and, in 1248, the lords of Windeck are mentioned in a document at Schwarzach Abbey as ministeriales of the Bishop of Straßburg. The castle itself, however, is first mentioned in 1335. It became a jointly-managed castle or Ganerbenburg very early on as a result of divisions of inheritance.
In the early 13th century the New Windeck Castle (Burg Neu-Windeck) was built by a branch of the family near Lauf within sight of Old Windeck. During the course of the 13th and 14th centuries, the lords of Windeck came into conflict many times with neighbouring territorial lords, the city of Straßburg and the counts of Württemberg in alliance with the Martinsvögel during the so-called Schlegler Wars, during which the castle was besieged, but never captured and so remained largely undamaged. In the late 14th century, however, it was stricken by a devastating fire. Stables and domestic buildings were razed, and the valuable archives, the basis of numerous legal titles, were destroyed. Reinhard von Windeck had the affected buildings rebuilt.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.