The Skanderbeg Square is the main plaza in the centre of Tirana. The square is named after the Albanian national hero Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu. The Skanderbeg Monument dominates the square.
In 1917, the Austrians built a public square, where the Skanderbeg Square is located nowadays. After Tirana became the capital in 1920, and the population increased, several city plans were planned.
During the time of the Albanian monarchy from 1928 to 1939, the square was composed of a number of buildings that would eventually be detonated during the communist period. The square was composed of a roundabout with a fountain in the center. The Old Bazaar used to be established on the grounds of modern-day Palace of Culture, the Orthodox Cathedral (present-day Tirana International Hotel), while the former City Hall building, on the grounds of where the National Historical Museum is located nowadays. A statue of Joseph Stalin was erected, where today the Skanderbeg Monument is located. Besides the construction of the above new elements during communism, the statue of Albania's leader Enver Hoxha was erected at the space between the National Historical Museum and the National Bank.
Following the fall of communism in 1991, the statue would be removed amid student-led demonstrations. Since June 2017, the square has been renovated and is now part of the biggest pedestrian zone in the Balkans.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.