Prüfening Abbey was a Benedictine monastery on the outskirts of Regensburg. Since the beginning of the 19th century it has also been known as Prüfening Castle (Schloss Prüfening). Notably, its extant dedicatory inscription, commemorating the founding of the abbey in 1119, was created by printing and is a unique document of medieval typography.
The monastery is situated on the western edge of the town of Regensburg and was founded in 1119 by Bishop Otto I of Bamberg as a Benedictine abbey. The abbey church, dedicated to Saint George, completed in 1125, is the first major church building of the so-called 'School of Hirsau' in Bavaria. It is a Romanesque basilica with a transept. The Romanesque wall-paintings are well-preserved.
The first abbot, Erminold, is supposed to have been killed by the monks because of his strictness. The tomb built in his honour by Bishop Heinrich II of Regensburg in 1283 was the work of one of the most important Regensburg cathedral master-builders. His name has not survived, but on the basis of this work he is known in art history as the 'Erminold Master'.
The abbey was dissolved in 1803 during the secularisation of Bavaria. The buildings were sold, and since 1899 have been in the possession of the Princes of Thurn und Taxis. Prince Max Emanuel of Thurn and Taxis (1902–1994), known as 'Father Emmeram' (German: Pater Emmeram), made efforts to re-establish a monastery in the buildings, which however came to nothing. Since 2002 a Montessori school has used the premises. The former abbey church serves as an auxiliary church for the Roman Catholic parish of St. Boniface.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.