Upon arriving at der Kölner Hauptbahnhof, we walked outside and immediately were engulfed in the presence of der Kölner Dom. This cathedral is basically the symbol of Köln (in English it is spelled Cologne) and is absolutely gorgeous. More on this later... we'll start with a little history of the city.
The city of Köln was originally Roman, and was eventually taken over by the Franks. It was really an important asset to have, mainly because of the Rhein River. This city was right on it, and offered lots of opportunities for trade and ocean access. Köln houses the first public university that Germany ever had, as it was founded here. In 1424 there was an expulsion of the Jewish population, similar to what happened in many other cities. Henry Ford even tried to start an automobile factory here, but it ended up falling through due to the strict regulations of the Nazi Party. During WWII there were 262 air raids that passed over the city. Turns out there were quite a few Nazi installations here, and thus Köln became a giant red target for the Allied forces. The last thing is kind of funny; in 2010 the Gay Games were held in Köln, as there is a very strong homosexual community there.
And now on to the Kölner Dom. This place is a huge monument for Catholics, especially German Catholics. It took from 1248 to 1880 to construct the church, and it towers a whopping 575 feet tall. For four years in the 1800's, it was even the tallest structure in the world. This church houses the archbishop of Cologne, which is why it's a cathedral and not just a church. This church regularly brings lots of Christian pilgrims, as it can truly move those who walk inside it. This new Gothic style is based on the French design, and the dark color is dirt, though in my opinion the darkness makes it that much more spooky and ominous. I am a huge fan of Gothic architecture.
In WWII the church was bombed, and I happened to find a picture that shows what the surrounding areas looked like afterwards. Literally, the area is leveled. It's honestly a miracle that the church was not completely destroyed.
|the small chapel built right into the wall of the new museum|
|a room in the museum|
|another room in the museum|