San Lorenzo was one of the twelve religious buildings commissioned by king Ferdinand III of Castile in the city after its conquest in the early 13th century.
The church occupies the site of a pre-existing Islamic mosque, which in turn had been built above a Visigothic church. It was built between around 1244 and 1300, in a transitional style between Romanesque and Gothic architecture. It has the typical structure of Andalusian churches of the period, featuring a rectangular plan with a nave and two aisles, without transept and an apse.
It has a portico with three slightly ogival arcades, added in the 16th century. The Islamic minaret was converted into a Renaissance bell tower by Hernán Ruiz the Younger. Above the portico is the large Gothic-Mudéjar rose window. The nave has a coffered ceiling in Mudéjar-Renaissance style. The apse has 14th century paintings inspired by the Italian Gothic school, depicting Scenes of the Life of Jesus. There are also figures of saints and prophets with gilt halos, and a decoration imitating Byzantine azulejos. the high altar (17th century) has scenes of the life of St. Lawrence.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.