Externsteine Stones

Horn-Bad Meinberg, Germany

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.



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User Reviews

Michael Alonso (7 months ago)
Unique and fascinating rock formations that has historical and cultural significance. Combine this with the amazing view of the surrounding area… makes it a must visit place! You can buy the ticket just below the rock formations if you want to go to the top to see the view from above, it costed 4€. Definitely worth it!
Dr. RM, A Traveller (7 months ago)
Fascinating natural architecture consisting of tall columns of rocks surrounded by lake and grasslands. Great place to visit for nature lovers. One can climb up using the staircase to the top to enjoy the panoramic view. I find it a worth visit. Please keep in mind that the direct bus available one in an hour. Great place for relax and one day outing.
Ryan Ingram (8 months ago)
A nice Sunday walk, we arrived early and missed most of the busy times on the steps. Carpark 4euros, walk up 4euros for an adult and 2 euros for 6yo. Under 6 were free.
Peter Van Der Meulen (9 months ago)
What an interesting place to visit. Amazing energy at certain places. Very old sacred site. Lovely forest behind the little lake. Also good to start a proper hiking route. The parking is 4 euros and brings you very close by. Or park at the other side of the forest. The restaurant is nice to eat before the place closes around 1730.
René H. Iversen (9 months ago)
Nice site to visit if you are in the area. Interesting to have seen it. Not a place you would return to. Be aware that typical Germany, parking can only be paid by cash. So you have to get to town to find an ATM first. Not very tourist friendly.
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