A few miles away from the city of Dermold, the region of Lippe, Germany, a unique rock formation: Externsteine, stand like a grand tower-like pillars. Translated as “stones of the ridge”, these five towering pillars are said to have been used by mankind for millennia, as mystical spots for Pagan rituals. They have been carved at by Christian monks and even used by the Nazi party, as a sacred grove. The origins of Externsteine has often been shrouded in mysticism and Pre-historic legends, which is why they have been dubbed as Star Stones.
From a geological perspective, the formation of sand stones is far from having any mystical origins. It used to be one a flat slab of sand stone, which over a very long time eroded and folded. The five towering unique structures you see today, are merely the product of roughly 50 million years worth of erosion. Due to their tall structure, over time ornaments such as stairs, bridges and intricate sculptures were added by human civilization. During ancient times, Externsteine was used as a site for astronomers, to stargaze and examine the skies. Also, they have been used as a place of worship and sacrifice. In fact, there’s even an ancient altar-like structure, that could possibly have served as spot for Pagan sacrificial rituals.
Ancient Pagan beliefs aside, it wasn’t till the 12th century, when the Externsteine structures received Byzantine carvings along their side. Shortly, Paganism was slowly being displaced by Christianity. Christian monks settled at the base of these rocks and slowly whittled away ancient staircase structures, in efforts to Christianize the area from Pagan beliefs.
As centuries passed, the unique site of Externsteine has had undergone various changes, as control had been passed around, from Christian churches to noble families. The site had served many purposes over the years. It used to be a fortress, prison, hunting lodge and even a pleasure palace in the 18th century. It wasn’t until the 1800’s, when Externsteine was restored to its medieval form.
As of today, Externsteine as well as it’s man-made structures of stairs, carvings and altars have become an iconic and one-of-a-kind attraction.These tall pillars still serve their purpose of being amazing spots, for stargazing into the night’s sky which is why they are still regarded as Star Stones. So, if you’re in Germany and on the lookout for breathtaking sights of nature in towering proportions, look no further than the Star Stones of Lippe.
Address: Infozentrum Externsteine Externsteine Straße 35, 32805 Horn-Bad Meinberg, Germany