The Hermannsdenkmal ('Hermann Monument') stands on the densely forested Grotenburg, a hill in the Teutoburg Forest range. The monument commemorates the Cherusci war chief Arminius (in German Hermann) and the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in which the Germanic warriors under Arminius defeated three Roman legions under Varus in 9 AD. At the time it was built, the location of the statue was believed to have been very near the actual site of the battle, though it is now considered to be more likely that the battle actually took place near Kalkriese, a considerable distance to north west of the monument.
Earthworks of the monument began in July 1838, and the foundation stone was laid in October 1838. Problems emerged due the criticism for design and the financial viability of the project came to be questioned. It was inaugurated not before 1875, in the presence of Emperor William I and the crown prince, Frederick.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.