Falkenberg Castle was founded probably between 895-898 AD, but not mentioned before 1154. In 1294 Aldsassen monastery bought it. In 1428 the monks successfully defend the castle against the Hussite invasion. During the Thirty Years' War in 1648 Hans Christoff von Königsmarck (Swedish-German soldier) conquered the castle and left it in ruins.
After been decayed for centuries, Friedrich-Werner Graf von der Schulenburg, a German diplomat and ambassador in Moscow, bought the castle as his retirement real estate. Following images from old paintings, he rebuilt the castle from 1936 – 1939. Schulenburg was part of the Operation Valkyrie, the failed assassination of Adolf Hitler. He was executed shortly after in 1944. The Gestapo confiscated the castle in World War II and arrested prisoners from the Flossenbuerg concentration camp. After the war, the Schulenburg family assumed ownership of the property.
Since its grand opening in 2015, visitors are invited to explore the castle’s museum and spend a night in the castle hotel. The castle also features a unique restaurant and a large knight’s hall for events.
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.