Basilica of the Visitation was built between 1715 and 1723. The basilica was given the status of a basilica minor by Pope Pius XI in 1936. The present basilica is located on a hill, where in the twelfth-century, stood a wooden figure of Mary, the Mother of God. According to a chronicle from 1218, the blind Jan from Raszewo regained his sight there. After the event, many pilgrims began visiting the area. Shortly afterwards, an altar, together with candlesticks and a baptismal font, was placed by the statue under the tree. In 1263, a wooden church was built on the hill.
In 1512, Ludwik von Panwitz raised a greater church, constructed out of brick. However, the church was destroyed during the Thirty Years' War. Between 1695 and 1711, a new church was built, but quickly began to crumble and was deconstructed in 1714. Between 1715 and 1723, another church was built by Count Franciszek Antony von Goetzen, which stands to the present day.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.