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Impressive Cologne: see it in 1 day 

Throwback to our trip to Cologne, a beautiful German city with rich heritage,

By Anna Purpurpurpur

I visited Cologne, or Köln, a few years ago, and I was planning to write about this city for quite a while. Despite being heavily damaged during WWII, it’s still an incredible place with lots of history and important historical landmarks. Here, I’ll be talking about a few of them that impressed me the most (however I must note that the white asparagus seasonal dishes from Cologne deserve a mention too).

First of all, a few words about the significance of Cologne. It declared a Roman colony as Agrippina the Younger, the wife of Emperor Claudius and mother of Nero, was born here, with the full title being Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium – and that’s where ‘Cologne” comes from (and you can see some Roman relics in the city today as well). Cologne used to be one of the largest cities of mediaeval Europe, and nowadays you can still visit 12 Romanesque churches there which are considered an important part of European heritage. Now Cologne is famous for its carnival and of course the surviving or restored heritage. 

What to see in Cologne?

As for the itinerary, the Dom, or the Cologne cathedral, is the number one unmissable landmark of the city. Its construction began in the 13th century and lasted for centuries. It’s linked to the legend of the Three Magi, as their relics were brought here from Milan. With its Gothic and Neo-Gothic architecture, iconic high spires, and gorgeous stained glass windows, it’s one of the most important cathedrals in all of Germany (and no surprise it’s on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list). The Dom is not the only religious site I’d suggest you visit. The Basilica of St Ursula is built on the site of a Roman cemetery where, according to legend, St Ursula and 11000 virgins were buried after being massacred around Cologne after their pilgrimage around Europe. This story is well-known and inspired many pieces of art.

The Old City seems like a nice point to continue exploring the city. The prettiest square there is the Alter Markt, or Old Market, with the colourful iconic buildings framing it. The fountain there is dedicated to the general of the Thirty Years War, Jan von Werth memorial in Cologne by Wilhelm Olbermann. The story of Jan and Griet is one of the most loved among the locals.

Cologne Town Hall is located nearby, too. The Great Saint Martin Church in Cologne’s Old Town was built between 1150 and 1250 on the remnants of the Roman Chapel. This building was badly damaged in World War II and is fully reconstructed now.

Hanentorburg is worth a peak, too. Those are the serving western gates of the mediaeval city walls in Cologne. Through them, the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire entered the city after the coronation in Aachen to worship the relics of the three Magi in the Cologne Cathedral. Other gates you might want to spot are Eigelsteintorburg and Severinstorburg, named after the church of the same name: only those three gates in total survived in the city from the mediaeval period.

Cologne Zoo was my other go-to place: it’s one of the nicest zoos I have ever visited! I even managed to see the baby elephant that weighed ‘only’ about 1000 kg.

Finally, a stroll along the impressive Hohenzollern Bridge over the Rhine, built in the early 20th century and restored after WWII, and a walk along the Rhine promenade would complement any trip to Cologne.

Cologne is also home to quite a few museums such as Ludwig, Chocolate Museum, Kolumba, Roman-Germanic Museum, Farina Fragrance Museum and House of 4711 (you probably already wondered how Cologne is linked to Eau de Cologne or the Water from Cologne?)

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Hope you liked my blog!
Anna xxx

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