St. Maurice Church is one the most precious buildings of the late Gothic style in Moravia. The three-naved structure has a cross vaulting dating from the middle of the 14th century. A more advanced net vault may be seen in the presbytery.
Two asymmetric prismatic towers were built on the western facade. In the western part of the church there is a unique double spiral staircase.
The real gem is the late Gothic sculpture of the 15th century, Christ on the Mount of Olives, located in the interior.
On the northern wall of the church, there is the Renaissance burial chapel of the Edelmann family. After a fire in 1709, the interior was redecorated in the Baroque style; Loretta Chapel and All Souls Chapel were added. Painters Jan Kryštof Handke, Karel Josef Haringer and Karel Moravec and sculptors Filip Sattler, Jan Sturmer and Jiří Antonín Heinz took part in the Baroque adaptations of the interior.
Maurice‘s organ, the largest organ in Central Europe and the eighth largest in Europe, were made by Master Michael Engler in 1745. It was decorated by the sculptor Philip Sattler and the wood-carver Jan Jiří Huckh. The original Baroque instrument with three keyboards underwent a renovation in the sixties of the 20th century.At that time a modern instrument was added, with 5 keyboards. Now the organ has 135 registers and 10,400 pipes.
In the mid 19th century, the church was equipped with new historicist furniture and underwent re-gothization in the years 1869-1908. The main altar is decorated with a Neo-Gothic retable from the mid 19th century.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.