During our Mini Holiday In Koeln, Sexy Hubby and I joined the average 20,000 people who stop by the Cologne cathedral every day, making it the most visited landmark in Germany.
The Koelner Dom is a Roman Catholic church of Gothic architecture, the largest in the North of Europe. The construction of this magnificent building started in 1248 and was paused in 1473; its completion happened in 1880, with no changes to the original drawings. A few more numbers, enough to give vertigo to anybody I think: 144.5 metres long, 86.5 wide and with towers 157 meters high.
The cathedral is the resting place of 12 archbishops and contains many treasures such as the Gero Crucifix, the Madonna of Milan and of course the Sarcophagus of the Magi, said to contain the remains of the Three Holy Kings. The relics were brought from Milan in 1164 and several artisans worked on the shrine, made of wood, gold, silver and precious stones. Images of Old Testament prophets and the 12 apostles ornate the sarcophagus, which is set in a prime position in the inner choir. The cathedral also has an interesting set of legends; you can read about them here.
The Koelner Dom was bombed during the Second World War but not destroyed. Apparently, the unmissable twin spires were used for navigation and this might be the reason the cathedral was spared. The restoration work was completed in 1956 and 40 years later, the Koelner Dom was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list. Repair work is constantly ongoing as the pollution damages the stones; scaffoldings have therefore become the norm.
We did not climb this time the 509 steps of the spiral staircase leading to a viewing platform about 100 metres above the ground and offering stunning views over the Rhine. Something to look forward to during our next visit.