Originally a monastery dating from the 12th century, the red-bricked cathedral dedicated to St Mary Mother of Mercy was built in its place with a two-towered, three nave basilica between 1892 and 1900, according to a design by Viennese architect Richard Jordan. However, the old monastery was constructed in rather more heroic circumstances with local woman carrying the bricks for its construction all the way from nearby Melje.
The majority of paintings inside the church were painted by the Hungarian artist Ferenz Pruszinskay, the Way of the Cross was carved by Miloš Hohnjec from Celje; the organ was made by the Mariborian master Jožef Brandl. On the main altar is the pilgrimage statue of Mary dating from the 18th century. In the presbytery there are frescoes and stained glass windows that are the work of the artist Stane Kregar.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.