Falkenstein Castle is located at 1,268 metres above sea level and it is Germany's highest located castle. The stone castle was built approximately 1270–1280 by Count Meinhard II von Tirol on the borders of his land (Tyrol). Because of the unusual situation of the castle it has been interpreted in historical context as a symbol of opposition to the Duchy of Bavaria. The name Castle Falkenstein only came into use in the 15th century. The castle was largely destroyed in the 17th century.
King Ludwig II of Bavaria purchased the ruin in 1883 and commissioned several architects, the first being Christian Jank (the designer of Neuschwanstein), to replace the existing structure with a romantic castle. Jank first created a restrained design, but later envisioned the castle in a dramatic, High Gothic style. Georg Dollmann was employed to produce plans and elevations in the same year based on Jank's design. However, his modest and economical designs displeased Ludwig.
Ludwig died in 1886 before work on the castle proper could begin, and the many plans for Falkenstein were permanently abandoned. The ruin of Castrum Pfronten on the building site was never demolished.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.