Schäftlarn Abbey was founded in 762 by Waltrich, a Benedictine monk of noble family, on his own land. During the next two centuries the monastery grew as a result of various gifts and endowments (among them the estates of Schwabing and Hesselohe). From 1140 to its dissolution during the secularisation of Bavaria in 1803, Schäftlarn belonged to the Premonstratensian Order.
In 1866 King Ludwig I of Bavaria restored possession to the Benedictines, who set up a secondary school here. The school did close between 1941 and 1945 by the National Socialists. Immediately after the war the school, which is private, was re-opened.
The present abbey buildings were constructed in 1707 to plans by Giovanni Antonio Viscardi. The church of Saint Denis, built as the abbey church, is a beautiful example of the Rococo architectural style. It was begun as a new building from 1733 to 1740 under Francois de Cuvilliés the Elder, and finished during the period from 1751 to 1760 by Johann Georg Gunetzrhainer and Johann Michael Fischer. From 1754 to 1756 the church was painted and decorated with stucco by Johann Baptist Zimmermann. From 1756 to 1764 Johann Baptist Straub worked on the altars and the chancel. There is also a formal garden here, recently restored.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.