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Cologne Cathedral - Germany's Largest Gothic Cathedral
inetwr1ter @ 11/ 19/ 2010

Cologne Cathedral is an impressive Roman Catholic cathedral and the most recognizable landmark in Cologne, Germany. One of Germany's most famous architectural monuments is also designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996 and is an absolute must-see if visiting the city of Cologne. The entry to the spectacular cathedral is free but you will have to pay admission to the tower and the Treasury where you can see the celebrated Shrine of the Three Kings that made the cathedral a major pilgrimage destination for nearly a millennium.

 

The construction of the current Cologne Cathedral started in 1248 after Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa brought the relics of the Three Kings, also known as the Three Magi to Cologne from Milan, Italy. It is believed to be built on the site of an earlier cathedral that was commissioned by the first bishop of Cologne Maternus which in turn was build over a Roman temple. However, the construction works of the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe stopped in the 1470's. Cologne Cathedral was left unfinished until the 19th century when the construction works were renewed. The spectacular cathedral was finally completed according to the surviving medieval plans in 1880. It was the tallest building in the world until 1884 when it was surpassed by the Washington Monument.

 

Cologne Cathedral suffered severe damage during the World War II but it was not destroyed allegedly because it was used as a navigational landmark for the Allied air forces. The damage on the cathedral was repaired by the mid-1950's but the emergency repair in the northwest tower was left as a reminder of the War until 2005 when it was decided to rebuilt it to its original appearance.

 

Cologne Cathedral is open daily but the opening hours vary according to the season. The cathedral can be visited from 6 AM to 7:30 PM from November to April and to 10 PM from May to October. The opening hours of Treasury are from 10 AM to 6 PM throughout the year. The tower can be visited from 9 AM to 6 PM from May to September, to 5 PM in March, April and October and to 4 PM from November to February. Please keep in mind that you cannot visit the cathedral during the mass. Wear comfortable shoes if you intend to climb the tower because it takes about an hour to reach the viewing platform.

What were the WOW moments you experienced?
The sight of Cologne Cathedral is truly impressive. Climbing 509 stairs to a viewing platform on the tower is quite exhausting but it is worth it because it offers a spectacular view of the cityscape.
Germany, Cologne, Cologne Cathedral
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