St. Stephen's Cathedral is a baroque church built in 1688. Since 730, there have been many churches built on the site of the current cathedral. The current church, a baroque building around 100 metres long, was built from 1668 to 1693 after a fire in 1662 destroyed its predecessor, of which only the late gothic eastern side remains. The cathedral's overall plan was made by Carlo Lurago, its interior decoration by Giovanni Battista Carlone, and its frescos by Carpoforo Tencalla.
Over time, the Passau Cathedral has acquired the largest organ outside of the United States. It is also the largest cathedral organ in the world. The organ currently has 17,774 pipes and 233 registers, all of which can be played with the five-manual general console in the gallery. Portions of the organ have their own mechanical-action or electric-action consoles, for a total of six consoles.
The cathedral has eight large bells in the bell rooms in the north and south towers. The heaviest, Pummerin at 7550 kg cast in 1952 and Sturmerin weighing 5300 kg cast in 1733 hang in the south tower. The other six bells hang in the north tower.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.