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Cologne or Colonia since it was founded by the Romans

The Cathedral is stunning

73 °F

Our last stop in Germany is Cologne. The town was founded in the year 50 by the Romans. You can still see remnants of the walls and towers that surrounded the old town. Our guides name was Ralph and showed us some interesting sites. The first one was a memorial to Edith Stein, a Jew who converted to Catholicism, then became a nun, earned her doctorate and when the nazis came, they came for her. We had seen a presentation earlier on our trip about her. The memorial was full of symbolism; her face was split in 2 to show her two religions; the tablets containing the Decalogue was broken in two and surrounded by the many shoes of the victims of the nazis…..very powerful.

The Cathedral Church of Saint Peter is a gothic masterpiece from the Middle Ages. It was started in 1248; construction continued for 312 years. Then there was a 300 year gap and was completed in 1880. For 500 years it was the tallest structure in the world and today it is the 2nd tallest cathedral in Europe. It has the largest facade of any church in the world and is made of sandstone.

The city was virtually destroyed late in the war but thankfully, the Cathedral escaped serious damage. The several bombs that hit the church damaged the facade in several places. You can see where it has been restored by the whiteness of the new stone. The church’s exterior has darkened over the centuries, but since sandstone is so porous, it cannot be cleaned without further damaging the exterior.

Cologne is know for the kolsch beer they brew. A top fermented beer served cold and in small glasses, so the beer never gets warm! I must say it is delicious.

We left for an extra excursion to visit a palace and hunting lodge in Bruhl. The two buildings were built for Clemens August, the Archbishop Elector of Cologne - again both civil and ecclesiastical power. He was also the Grandmaster of the Teutonic Order of Knights, so military power as well. Augustusburg and Falkenlust. They were built on a line with a stand of trees in the middle where herons would nest. Clemons was fascinated with falconry and used them to hunt the herons. He would band the herons after capture and set them free. Many would be caught multiple times. The hunting lodge had a room covered in delft tiles showing the hero’s, falcons and life at the palace. Both buildings were beautiful, over the top as these places tend to be. Please check out the entrance hall and stairway to the palace in the pictures.

One last historical tidbit…. Aggripina, Emperor Claudius’s wife was from Cologne and since she couldn’t be from a mere colony, Claudius elevated Cologne’s status to a city.

Posted by Weimerrv 16:33 Archived in Germany Tagged cologne

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