The beautifully situated Stjärnsund Manor and estate lies on the point where Alsen joins Lake Vättern. The present building was built between 1798-1801. The interior furnishings, curtains, carpets, chandeliers and mirrors together form one of the best preserved interiors from the mid 19th centry in Sweden. The décor originates from Prince Gustav, "The Singing Prince".
The manor of Strjänsund was established in 1637 by Johan Gabrielsson Oxenstierna. The present castle was built by Olaf Burenstam, who acquired the manor in 1785. His son-in-law sold it to the King Carl XIV Johan. Today Stjärnsund is owned by Vitterhetsakademien, The Royal Institute of Lettets, History and Antiques.
Guided tours of the main living quarters and two wings are given daily. The café is nearby, in what was once the Estate Manager's cottage.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.