The Lutheran Church of St. Reinold (Reinoldikirche) is dedicated to the patron of the city. The church was built as a palatine church in the Ottonian era. The present building is a late Romanesque church with a late gothic quire. St. Reinold's was built from 1250 to 1270, and is located in the centre of the city, directly at the crossing of the Hellweg (a historic trade route) and the historic road from Cologne to Bremen. St. Reinoldi's congregation is a member of the Evangelical Church of Westphalia, an umbrella comprising Lutheran, Reformed and united Protestant congregations.
Efforts to complete the tower of St. Reinold's were renewed in 1443. After its completion in 1454, it was 112m tall. The polygonal spire was renovated the first time in 1519. The apex of the church was now about seven metres higher. In 1661, the tower collapsed after being damaged during an earthquake. The foundation for the new tower was laid 1662, and the building was completed 1701, with a baroque ornament on the top.
The church was heavily damaged in World War II. Since the reconstruction the tower now bears a hood with baroque features. These features supply a visual and harmonious connection between the original style of the church and its appearance after reconstruction. The tower can be visited, up to the first platform by the bell tower.
On the inside there is a large set of bells. The heaviest bell, weighing 6.500 kg, is the largest cast steel bell in Westphalia.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.