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Basic information

  • Area: 405.15 km² (156.43 sq mi)
  • Calling Code: +49
  • Currency: Euro (€) (EUR)
  • Population (EST): 998,105
  • Official language: German
  • Time Zone: CET (UTC+1)

Cologne – Places to Visit

Kölner Dom

The awe inspiring Cologne Cathedral looms large over the city and has been a constant landmark since its two towers were completed in 1880. An engineering masterpiece the foundation stone for the cathedral was laid in 1248 however it took a further 600 years for building work to be completed. Visitors to the cathedral can climb the 533 stairs up to the viewing platform on the south tower for unparalleled views over Cologne; on the way up see the world’s largest free swinging church bell at 24,000kg.

Philharmonic Concert Hall

The magnificent Philharmonic Concert Hall lies underneath the streets of Cologne between the Kölner Dom and the Rhine. The astounding size of this underground concert hall means it can house more than 2000 guests. With plush red velvet seats and intricate woodwork the huge round Philharmonic has some of the best acoustics of any venue in Europe. Playing host to world class performances from classical music to opera and jazz the venue is regularly filled to capacity, creating a great atmosphere for the audience.

Cologne Town Hall

The wonderfully Gothic Cologne Town Hall (Rathaus) was built in the early 14th century, although many of its most notable features have been added on through the years. The imposing tower stands 61 meters high, is decorated with over 130 stone statues and features a grotesque wooden face which sticks out its tongue when the clock strikes the hour! The 16th century loggia is the Town Hall’s most famous addition and is a near perfect example of Renaissance era architecture.

Romanesque Churches

Cologne’s twelve Romanesque churches all stand within the city’s medieval city wall and are an important window back into Cologne’s wealthy medieval heritage. With many legends surrounding the churches and their impressive architecture they are a must see during any trip to Cologne. All but one of the churches (St. Maria Lyskirchen) suffered much destruction during World War II but the city is extremely proud of its medieval heritage and they were lovingly restored back to their former glory.

EL-DE House

The well preserved EL-DE House is now one of Colognes most respected museums. During World War II it was used as a residence for the Secret Police and the basement a torture prison for their victims. Visitors to the museum can see inscriptions on the walls of the prison, which is now a memorial to those who were held there. The permanent exhibition entitled “Cologne in the times of National Socialism” is an interesting insight into Germany during the War.

Remagen

The town of Remagen, about an hours drive south of Cologne has such a well known history it is well worth a trip. The Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen was famous for its role in World War II being a key strategic location for both Hitler and the allies. All that remains of the bridge now are the towers which house a museum and a memorial to those that died. Also well worth a look is the magnificent Apollinariskirche offering spectacular views over the countryside.