Marienkirche (St. Mary's Church) was built opposite of the Reinoldikirche, for the town's council and jurisdiction. It shows elements of Romanesque and Gothic architecture, and houses notable Medieval art.
The church was built on the Hellweg, a main Medieval road connecting the free imperial town Dortmund with others. It was erected between 1170 and 1200 in Romanesque style to serve the town's council and jurisdiction. It is the oldest extant church in Dortmund's inner city. Around 1350, a choir in Gothic architecture was built. It served as a model for the Reinoldikirche, which was built opposite of the road.
The Marienkirche houses notable Medieval art, such as the Berswordtaltar from 1385, named after its patron, and the Marienaltar by Conrad von Soest from 1420, with scenes of the life of Mary. The central panel of the Berswordt-Altar dating from 1397 depicts the Swoon of the Virgin, an imagery which gradually disappeared from paintings of the Crucifixion after Molanus and other theologians of the Counter-Reformationcondemned its use. The Marienaltar now contains only fragments of von Soest's original masterpiece. In 1720 a new reredos was installed, and workmen took hammers and saws to the paintings to make them fit into the new frames, losing over half of the large central panel and a quarter of each of the two side panels.
Since the Reformation, it has been a Lutheran parish church of St. Marien. The church was almost completely destroyed by bombs in World War II. However, both the Marienaltar and the Berswordtaltar had been evacuated to the Cappenberg Castle at the outset of the war and thus survived. The church was rebuilt, beginning right after the war and completed in 1959. The swallow's nest organ high above the nave, was reconstructed in the same position by Steinmann Orgelbau. The glass windows were restored in subdued colours after designs of Johannes Schreiter, completed in 1972. The church serves as a concert venue for sacred music.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.