The Externsteine are a rock formation located in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The formation consists of several tall pillars of sandstone which rise from the surrounding wooded hills of the nature reserve they arepart of.
It is said, that the Externsteine were a centre of religious activity for the Teutonic peoples but there is no clear archaeological evidence for this. There is however evidence, that the side was used as an monastery in the Middle Ages.
The Nazis and their precursors from the völkisch movement fucked it all up: Some archeological founds disappeared, others were made up to promote this place to a kind of SS - sanctum. There were and are countless theories about the stones - from interesting to totally crackbrained. Justifiably today no serious scientist really dares to deal with this delicate matter. Alas!
The last pre-Christian inhabitants of the region were Saxons until their defeat by Emperor Charlemagne. 772, Charlemagne is reported to have ordered the destruction of the Saxon Irminsul, the word-pillar. The famous Externsteine relief shows the Descent from the Cross and the “bent tree” below the cross has been suggested to represent the Irminsul. (Or a palm-tree, or a chair, or a ladder… You get the picture.)
Over the years the side became a popular destination for neo-nazis and neo-pagans of all shades. There are - modern and not so modern - carvings (like runes and sigills) everywhere.
At the top of the tallest stone is a chamber with a so called altarstone. Directly above the altarstone a circular hole is cut into the wall, facing the direction of sunrise at the time of summer-solstice.
Be that all as it may - Happy summer-solstice!
Source: one photos