Cologne, Germany- Cologne was one of the places that immediately went on my must see list when I found out we were moving to Germany. When I was working in my cubical back in D.C. I would often google map directions from Frankfurt to Cologne and imagine us driving there to see the amazing cathedral.
Early last week Sean came home from work one day and said, “Hey, want to go to Cologne this weekend?” Obviously the answer was yes! He did a little of his own google mapping (not at work of course) and plotted a route that took us 3 and a half hours but went alongside the Rhine River. He drove so I can castle spot- his suggestion. It didn’t take long for me to start playing “Slug Castle” (a working title). The game is like slug bug but instead of lovingly punching the persons arm when you see a VW beetle you do it when you see a castle. Sean was a little less enthusiastic about this game this game than I was.
Along the way we stopped in a town called Koblenz where the rivers Rhine and Mosel meet. The city was established as a military post in 8 BC. Today there is still a large military fortress located along the hillside. Visitors can take a cable car that crosses the river below to the top for a tour.
Across the river from the fortress is the Deutsches Eck or German Corner which marks the location of the convergence of the two rivers. Today, a large equestrian monument of Emperor William I sits on a peninsula that jets out where the Rhine is on the right and the Moselle is on the left. This location and statue have a rich history. The original statue was built in 1897 but during the war in 1945 was badly damaged by US artillery shells. When Germany was divided in 1949 into the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic the Germany the corner was turned into a monument to Germany unity. This is when the coat of arms of the German states and flags were installed. In 1989 when the Berlin wall came down, three pieces of the wall were added to the site. In 1993 a statue was built to after the original equestrian statue however, the coat of arms and flags signifying German unity remain. Along the bottom of the statue an inscription reads “Nimmer wird das Reich zerstöret, wenn ihr einig seid und treu” meaning, Never will the Empire be destroyed, so long as you are united and loyal.
After stretching our legs and touring the monument we hopped back in the car and headed further up the river to Cologne. We were wondering if we would be able to find the cathedral once we go there but as soon as we entered the city we could see the top gothic towers jetting into the sky.
When Archbishop Rainald Von Dassel brought back the remains of the Three Kings from Milan in 1164 Cologne became an important pilgrimage site. Because of this it was decided that a new church should be built to house these important relics. in 1248 construction began on the cathedral that exists today. However, in the early 16th century construction stopped due to lack of interests and money.In 1842 King Friedrich Wilhelm IV had construction resume and the church was completed in 1880. In World War II the cathedral was damaged due to bombing but miraculously survived. Today, 80 stone masons work on the cathedral year around to keep it in good condition. One of the most impressive shrines in the cathedral is that of the Three Kings. I have included pictures of this below.
I wish the pictures below truly showed the detail and impressive design of the cathedral. The gothic design on ever inch of the exterior is breathtaking and the shrines, stained glass window and decoration on the inside are equally impressive. We hope you enjoy some of our photos.