There are several imperial palaces in Laxenburg, outside of Vienna. The castles became a Habsburg possession in 1333 and formerly served as a summer retreat for the imperial Habsburg dynasty. Blauer Hof Palace was the birthplace of some members of the royal family, including Crown Prince Rudolf. Another castle nearby is named Franzensburg castle.
There are two imperial palaces in Laxenburg, outside of Vienna. The castles became a Habsburg possession in 1333 and formerly served as a summer retreat for the imperial Habsburg dynasty. Blauer Hof Palace was the birthplace of some members of the royal family, including Crown Prince Rudolf.
Blauer Hof was first referred to as a Freihof under Melchior Arguello in 1544. From 1705 Imperial Vice-Chancellor Friedrich Karl Schönborn was the owner, who had the existing structure generously expanded by his favourite architect, Lukas von Hildebrandt, between 1710 and 1720. As of 1756, a large extension was built by the court architect Nicoló Pacassi. Circa 1770 the Belvedere was added. Pacassi modified the building, moving the entrance from the eastern to the northern side.
The interior decoration, insofar as it has been preserved, mainly dates from 1853/54.
The castle theatre was built following designs by Nicoló Pacassi in 1753. On the park entrance side there is a high portico with a curved gable. The wall surfaces are structured by sunken fields and superimposed panels. As regards the interior decoration, only the late baroque painting in the illusionist architecture still remains. The upper zone with volutes, floral garlands and putti was added in the 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.