Externsteine - magical rock formation, Germany


During travelling through the scenic Teutoburg Forest in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalianear, you can find the picturesque group of rocks a few kilometres from the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. Its name - Extersteine - usually translates as stones of the ridge. This is a highly unusual rock formation. In an area otherwise devoid of large rocks, the soaring, slender columns of Externsteine stand out as they rise sharply and with no little majesty from the surrounding landscape.


The 13 sandstone pillars have been ornamented over the millennia by human hand. Yet the true origins of the star stones can be discovered through geology. The unusual geological formation consists of a hard, erosion-resistant sandstone (so-called Osningsandstein), laid down during the early Cretaceous era about 100 million years ago. Thousands of years of erosion have washed the rocks from the surrounding soil and then were formed the surface of the stone. The rock formation stretches for several hundred metres. The largest rock rises 38 m above the surrounding area and is known as the Grottenfels due to its cave. The next one is named as Turmfels (tower) and rises 37.5 m. Next rock is called Treppenfels (stairs). A large gap separates that group of rocks to the next one - Wackelsteinfelsen - named due to a loose boulder (now fixed in place) at its top.


The stone pillars have been modified and decorated by humans over the centuries.  The Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages. It is thought that the site was possibly used for astronomical observation, worship and sacrifice. The rocks were the site of a Christian chapel at the high medieval period. From that period comes relief - depiction of the Descent of the Jesus from the Cross. These may have been a reconstruction of the Holy Sepulchre. Probably the Externsteine were intended as a destination for pilgrims unable to travel to Jerusalem. 


Most of the human-made alterations are on the southwestern side of the rocks. The pond that currently lies at the foot of the formation is also artificial. In 1836 the Wiembecke stream flowing past the stones was dammed to form an artificial pond.




The Externsteine are the synthesis of natural energy and human influence, therefore this place is the nature reserve and since 2006 has been a Nationaler Geotop (national geotope). Little wonder that the magical rock formation has been attracting curious visitors.




You might also like other articles about Germany (click)

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Comments

  1. Piękne miejsce i wspaniałe zdjęcia.
    Pozdrawiam i życzę miłego weekendu.

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  2. I love natural features like this one, so beautiful and unique. We have a park in my city (Garden of the Gods) with some incredible rock formations, and it's one of my favorite places to visit.

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  3. What an amazing place! Thank you for showing it to us.

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  4. what an awesome area - wow, think I'd have loads of fun there.

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  5. Wow--- I'd love to see it in person.

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  6. Amazing. Awesome pics and post.

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  7. Oh my word! These are amazing

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  8. Terrific photos! Now way I could do those stairs though! Thanks so much for sharing at OBW!

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  9. Piękne formacje skalne przypominają nieco nasz Góry Stołowe :) Ostatnie zdjęcie z oknem bardzo pomysłowe, podobnie jak to z "bulajem" :) pozdrawiamy serdecznie

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  10. Whata interesting and wonderful place. The rock is really high and all the stairs ... lovely.
    I love a lots of these photos.

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  11. Wonderful sight to see, would love to visit.

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  12. Astonishing - great photos!

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  13. Oh my you need a head for heights to scale those, but wow what wonderful photos.

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  14. Magnificent rock formation and very professional shots ~ thanks,

    Wishing you a Happy Week ahead ~ ^_^

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  15. Even though I used to live close to Germany, have never been here! Intriguing is the bridge between the two main rocks! Many thanks for sharing this experience in the North Rhine area with ALL SEASONS -much appreciated! Have a beautiful week!

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  16. Wow, they are totally amazing. It's almost a pity they haven't been kept in their natural state, but they look fabulous all the same.

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  17. The rock structures are awesome.

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  18. What a beautiful place! Even the man made alterations are so artistic.

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  19. What a fascinating place.

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  20. Love, love this sharing. How fun to walk and explore there must be. The stairs would be a struggle though for me, but I'd have to try for the view.

    Peabea@Peabea Scribbles

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  21. Those rock formations are amazing! I would love the climb the stairs and go over that high bridge! I have never heard of this place, but I would love to visit!

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  22. This is a really cool place! I am attracted to places like this. I think that is why I like the American West so much. Would like to stop by this place in Germany one day. #OurWorldTuesday

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  23. What an interesting, and visually pleasing, place to visit. Nature is a wonder.

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  24. What an unique landscape! Love your photos! #WanderfulWednesday

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  25. I actually grew up half an hour away from this place and we frequently visited! It didn't really seem special to me until I moved abroad, now I love it :)

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  26. This is awesome! I've never heard of this before! Pinned! #WanderfulWednesday
    (www.caliglobetrotter.wordpress.com)

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  27. I had to bookmark this one as we will be living in Germany next year. This is a must see! Thanks for sharing. Have a great week!

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  28. Looks beautiful, but those steps… 😧

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  29. Such an interesting and beautiful place to visit! :D

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  30. They are indeed spectacular nature and manmade sites! Are they in the UNESCO Heritage Sites list? I am amazed at how that bridge at the top was made, and i might not be able to step on it for fear of heights. Thanks for letting us see them through your photos and inform us with your descriptions.

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  31. Beautiful rock formations.

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  32. What a wonderful place! I love to see natural formations like this and to know they are all over the world is awesome!

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  33. These mountains are amazing. I'd love to visit that the.

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  34. These rock formations are breathtaking. A photographer's dream.

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  35. What an amazing place! I like the stones on the rock in the last photo. The rock formations in the second photo remind me a bit of Joshua Tree!

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  36. wow what amazing formations. excellent carvings

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  37. So beautiful! Thanks for linking up with #wkendtravelinspiration!

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  38. Very beautiful photos! Greetings from Montreal, Canada. :)

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  39. Thank you for sharing these awesome views.

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  40. What a lovely place - and so many traps.

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  41. Wow lovely and fascinating

    Have a nice ABC-Wednesday / _ Week
    ♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫ (abc=w=team)
    http://melodymusic.nl/abc-wednesday-20e/
    (want to take a preview at the new url starting round 21 ? http://abcwednesday.wordpress.com)

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  42. Thank you, - nature has given us some truly amazing sites, hasn't it. Really appreciate your beautiful photos...

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  43. those rocks are so nifty
    ROG, ABCW

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  44. Exquisite photography,
    It seems that every rock has a story to tell.
    I love the shot of the stone carved steps up
    to the viewing pplatform..That little bridge adjoing
    the two very tall rocks look rather precarious,
    I'm afraid I haven't got a head for heights so I would
    have to stay on the ground and be contented to gaze upwards,
    or better still, look at your Excellent photographs!
    Best wishes,
    Di,
    ABCW team.

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  45. An amazing place that reminds me a little of Meteora in Greece... Your great photos do it justice!
    Thanks for taking part in the Travel Tuesday meme.

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