The Sandomierz Royal Castle was built on a slope of Vistula River by Casimir III the Great and extended in the 16th century. The original building was blown up in 1656, leaving only the west wing standing. It was later transformed into a Renaissance styled residence with the west wing preserved as a museum.
The 14th-century castle was built on the site of the existing stronghold in the 10th century. Between 1146-1166 it was the seat of Prince Henry of Sandomierz, son of Bolesław III Wrymouth. The Gothic castle was built by Casimir the Great. The remnants of the Gothic structure are visible in the foundations of the octagonal tower of the south corner, which is the oldest part of the monument. The existing tower was built during the reign of Casimir IV Jagiellon in the 15th century as an integral part of the so-called Great House, the seat of the prince.
During the reign of Sigismund I the Old and Sigismund II Augustus, the castle was enlarged. The Sigismund the Old's cornerstone preserved above the entrance on the east side of the array. It bears the date 1520 and a cartouche with Sigismund's eagle. The construction was supervised by the Royal architect Benedyct Sandomierski, who erected two-storey arcaded cloisters around a closed courtyard.
During the Deluge the castle was blown up by the retreating Swedish troops of general Sincler. About fifty Poles, who entered the abandoned castle, were killed. The survived western wing of the castle was later rebuilt during the reign of king John III Sobieski between 1680-1688.
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.