St. Sebaldus Church is one of the most important and oldest churches of Nuremberg. It takes its name from Sebaldus, an 8th-century hermit and missionary and patron saint of Nuremberg. It has been a Lutheran parish church since the Reformation.
The construction of the building began in 1225. the church achieved parish church status in 1255 and was completed by 1273-75. It was originally built as a Romanesque basilica with two choirs. During the 14th century several important changes to the construction were made: first the side aisles were widened and the steeples made higher (1309–1345), then the late gothic hall chancel was built (1358–1379). The two towers were added in the 15th century. In the middle 17th century galleries were added and the interior was remodelled in the Baroque fashion. The church suffered serious damage during World War II and was subsequently restored. Some of the old interior undamaged includes the Shrine of St. Sebaldus, works by Veit Stoss and the stained glass windows.
The church had an organ by the 14th century, and another by the 15th. The main organ had been built in 1440–41 by Heinrich Traxdorf, who also built two small organs for Nuremberg's Frauenkirche. Until its destruction in the 20th century it was one of the oldest playable organs in the world. The Traxdorf organ was rebuilt in 1691. The modified case was destroyed by the Allied forces during a bombing raid on 2 January 1945.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.