Today we are in Cologne, Köln in German. Cologne is located on the Rhine River and is Germany’s fourth largest city. It is set in the heart of the Blue Banana, a curved corridor (hence “banana”) of urbanization in Western Europe. It stretches from North West England in the north sweeping down all the way to Northern Italy in the South.
It is in this charming town that you can find us today from 1 to 4 pm, on the forecourt of the church Aposteln (Neumarkt 30).
But first here is a little bit of background history with some site seeing suggestions to make your visit to Cologne unforgettable:
Brief of Cologne’s History
Cologne was founded by the Romans who made it the capital of Lower Germany. During the middle Ages it flourished and became one of the most important major trade routes between Eastern and Western Europe.
In the 14th century Cologne was one of the leading members of the Hanseatic League. The league was a commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds created to protect economic interest and diplomatic privileges in the city states.
Up until World War II the city underwent several occupations by the French and also by the British. Cologne was one of the most heavily bombed cities during the war with the bombing reducing the population by 95%, mainly due to mass evacuation, and destroyed almost the entire city. With the intention of restoring as many historic buildings as possible the successful post war rebuilding has resulted in a very mixed and unique cityscape.
Cologne is a major cultural center for the Rhineland. It hosts more than thirty museums and hundreds of galleries. Exhibitions range from local ancient Roman archeological sites to contemporary graphics and sculpture. The Cologne Trade Fair hosts a number of trade shows such as Art Cologne, Imm Cologne (furniture), Gamescom (video game) and the Photokina (photography and imaging).
The cathedral was started in 1248 but was abandoned around 1560. It was eventually finished in 1880 and became not just as a place of worship but also a national monument celebrating the newly founded German state and the continuity of the nation since the middle Ages. Some of this urban growth occurred at the expense of the city’s historic heritage with much being demolished (for example, the city walls and the area around the cathedral) and sometimes replaced by modern 20th century buildings.
In 1996, the cathedral was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List of culturally important sites. Cologne Cathedral is a major tourist attraction due to its convenient location with many visitors travelling there as a Christian pilgrimage.
Visitors can climb the 509 stone steps of the spiral staircase to a viewing platform about 100 m above the ground. The platform gives a beautiful scenic view over the Rhine.
The triangle tower
This innovative high-rise office block was completed in 2005 and has already become a prominent city landmark on the right bank of the Rhine. The building is over 100 metres high and is located opposite Cologne Cathedral, directly on the river bank at Cologne Deutz and in the immediate vicinity of the Koelnmesse exhibition centre. This building is a successful symbiosis of intelligent architecture and with its easily accessible location, high-tech fittings, state-of-the-art building technology and intelligent services makes the KölnTriangle a uniquely modern construction. The public panorama platform on the roof of the Koln Triangle offers breathtaking views of the cathedral city, the Rhine, its bridges and the surrounding area.
After such an exhausting day visiting and discovering beautiful Cologne, you have to experience a completely new approach to Mongolian cuisine in the popular Mongo’s restaurant. And if you are fan of grasshoppers and fried crickets, this is the place!
The Botanical Garden
If you are looking for peaceful haven go to Cologne’s oldest and most traditional Botanical Garden, which is located in Riehl, a northern district of Cologne near the left bank of the Rhine. The Botanical Garden with its splendid flora was established in the 19th century. This extensive complex is home to more than 10,000 species of plants. It invites visitors to take walks that combine relaxation with opportunities to learn something about the world of plants and flowers. As you walk between the exotic plants in the tropical greenhouses and the Palm House you will feel that you are in the midst of a rain forest.
The Aposteln Basilica
The Aposteln basilica is a Romanesque church in Cologne located near Innenstadt’s busy Neumarkt. The former collegiate church is dedicated to the twelve Apostles and is one of the twelve Romanesque churches built in Cologne in that period.
The church has a basilical plan of nave and aisles and, like Groß St. Martin and St. Maria im Kapitol, has three apses at the east end making a trefoil plan. There is a single tower of 67 metres on the western side.
It is on the forecourt of the basilica that we will be welcoming you from 1 til 4pm.
See you very soon!