At the top of the Montaillou village is all that remains of The Château de Montaillou, the rectangular castle: a ruined tower and evidence of walls and earthworks. The castle was built by the lords of Alion around the end of the 12th century. Occupying a platform roughly 100m long by 30 to 40 m wide, all that now remains are three walls of the ruined keep. Access was controlled by a dry moat cut into bare rock. The courtyard was surrounded by a curtain wall, the base of which is partially conserved. Further dry moats provided defence to the north and east, while to the south the steep slope of the site was sufficient. The plan of the castle was simple: a wall linked to a tower followed the contours of the hill.
In 1226 Bernard d'Alion paid nominal homage to the King of France, but his sympathies still lay with the Cathars. He married Esclarmonde, daughter of Roger IV, Count of Foix in 1236. The witnesses were Cathar parfaits or at least believers. In 1258, Bernard was condemend by the inquisition as a Cathar heretic and burned alive in Perpignan. The castle was taken by his father-in-law and became a frontier fortress, between the County of Foix, the French King's lands and Aragon. The first written mention of the castle is in 1272, in a list of the Count of Foix's fortresses. At the end of the 13th century, the Count doubled the thickness of the walls. The castle survived the Albigensian Crusade but fell into disrepair later.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.