Cologne is the oldest city of Germany. Its history goes back to the Romans who this city as Colonia. Cologne is mainly known because of his seven (!) Christmas markets, but the city has so much more to offer. Is it possible to get a good impression of Cologne in only one day?
The first thing I saw when I walked into Cologne was… a lot of grey clouds. In Holland it was all sunny, but when we entered Germany it became foggy. And it stayed that way the whole day. But hey, we’re here now. So we might as well make the best of it. And luckily the first thing we saw when we walked into Cologne was the great Dom of Cologne. An immense gothic cathedral (Unesco World Heritage) which took six centuries to built. It’s the only building in the city that survived the World War II bombing in 1942. More than 90 percent of the city was destroyed. On the top of the Dom (after a climb of 500 steps) you have a splendid view over the city (fee: 3 euros).
If you arrive by train in Cologne, the Hohzenzollern Bridge is the entrance into the city. Until five years ago this bridge was a bridge like any other industrial iron bridge. But then in 2009 a couple declared their love to each other by hanging a lock to the bridge and throwing the keys into the river Rhine. Before you knew it the bridge was full of locks. Today there are 40.000 locks hanging on the bridge (now dubbed as the Padlock Bridge). The locks also add about 2 tons of weight to the bridge. So it’s the question how long this could go on. I think the locks add some color to the bridge, the industrial iron look gave me a cold feeling.
On the bank of the river Rhine you can see the old parts of Cologne. Despite the World War II bombing, the city has kept his medieval character. Proof is the ‘Altstadt’ with little colorful houses and cobblestone streets and alleys. The old city is easy to target. The only thing you have to do is to look for the Romanesque church of Sankt Martin. It’s easy to recognize by the square tower with small circular towers to the four corners. This church is also built on the residues of a Roman storage.
The ring of 12 Romanesque churches
In the centre of the city you can visit the ring of twelve Romanesque churches. They are built in a semicircle around the city centre. The Romanesque architecture is one of soberness, explaining the common medieval people religious stories by showing them. All twelve structures are on the list of Unesco World Heritage, although they are not all as striking as the Dom. I’ve managed to visit two of them: Sankt Gereon and the Sankt Aposteln.
And after the churches my day in Cologne ended. It’s not a big city, so one day is more than enough to get a good impression. There’s no need for planning, just go and wander around the city. You will plenty of interesting and fun things.
Have you already visited Cologne?