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—  City  —
Cologne waterfront and skyline, with Groß St. Martin (center left) and Cologne Cathedral (right)


Coat of arms
Cologne within North Rhine-Westphalia
Country Germany
State North Rhine-Westphalia
Admin region Cologne
Founded 50 AD
 - Lord Mayor Jürgen Roters (SPD)
 - Total 405.15 km2 (156.4 sq mi)
Elevation 37 m (121 ft)
 - Total 993,509
 Density 2,460/km2 (6,371.4/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 50441-51149
Area code 0221, 02203

Cologne (German: Köln, pronounced [kœln]  ( listen); Kölsch language: Kölle [ˈkœɫə]) is Germany's fourth-largest city (after Berlin, Hamburg and Munich), and is the largest city both in the German Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants. It is one of the oldest cities in Germany, having been founded by the Romans in the year 38 BC. The name is derived from that of the Roman settlement, Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium.

Cologne lies on the River Rhine. The city's famous Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) is the seat of the Catholic Archbishop of Cologne. The University of Cologne (Universität zu Köln) is one of Europe's oldest universities.

Cologne is a major cultural center of the Rhineland and has a vibrant arts scene. Cologne is home to more than 30 museums and hundreds of galleries. Exhibitions range from local ancient Roman archeological sites to contemporary graphics and sculpture. The Cologne Trade Fair hosts a number of trade shows such as Art Cologne, the International Furniture Fair (IMM) and the Photokina. Cologne is also well-known for its celebration of Cologne Carnival, the annual reggae summerjam, and Cologne Gay Pride.

Within Germany, Cologne is known as an important media center. Several radio and television stations, including Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), RTL and VOX, have their headquarters in the city. Both Pro7 and Sat.1 produce TV shows in Cologne as well. Further, the city hosts the Cologne Comedy Festival, which is considered to be the largest comedy festival in mainland Europe.[1]

Cologne hosted the Catholic World Youth Day 2005 with Pope Benedict XVI.



Cologne is the fourth-largest city in Germany in terms of inhabitants after Berlin, Hamburg and Munich. As of 31.June 2009, there are officially 993,509 residents.[2]). Cologne is the center of the Cologne/Bonn Region with around 3 million inhabitants (including the neighboring cities of Bonn, Hürth, Leverkusen, and Bergisch Gladbach).

According to local statistics, in 2006 the population density in the city was 2,528 inhabitants per square kilometer. 31.4 percent of the population has migrated there, and 17.2 percent of Cologne's population is non-German. The largest group, comprising 6.3 percent of the total population, is Turkish.[3] As of September 2007, there are about 120,000 Muslims living in Cologne, mostly of Turkish origin.[4]

In the city the population was spread out with 15.5% under the age of 18, 67.0% from 18 to 64 and 17.4% who were 65 years of age or older.[5]


Cologne is part of the Cologne/Bonn Region and incorporated as an independent city (Kreisfreie Stadt) under the Gemeindeordnung Nordrhein-Westfalen (GO NRW) (Municipality Code of North Rhine-Westphalia). The city's administration is headed by a mayor (Oberbürgermeister) and three deputy mayors.


Cologne is subdivided into 9 boroughs (Stadtbezirke) and 86 quarters (Stadtteile):

Innenstadt (Stadtbezirk 1)
Altstadt-Nord, Altstadt-Süd, Neustadt-Nord, Neustadt-Süd, Deutz
Rodenkirchen (Stadtbezirk 2)
Bayenthal, Godorf, Hahnwald, Immendorf, Marienburg, Meschenich, Raderberg, Raderthal, Rodenkirchen, Rondorf, Sürth, Weiß, Zollstock
Lindenthal (Stadtbezirk 3)
Braunsfeld, Junkersdorf, Klettenberg, Lindenthal, Lövenich, Müngersdorf, Sülz, Weiden, Widdersdorf
Ehrenfeld (Stadtbezirk 4)
Bickendorf, Bocklemünd/Mengenich, Ehrenfeld, Neuehrenfeld, Ossendorf, Vogelsang
Nippes (Stadtbezirk 5)
Bilderstöckchen, Longerich, Mauenheim, Niehl, Nippes, Riehl, Weidenpesch
Chorweiler (Stadtbezirk 6)
Blumenberg, Chorweiler, Esch/Auweiler, Fühlingen, Heimersdorf, Lindweiler, Merkenich, Pesch, Roggendorf/Thenhoven, Seeberg, Volkhoven/Weiler, Worringen
Porz (Stadtbezirk 7)
Eil, Elsdorf, Ensen, Finkenberg, Gremberghoven, Grengel, Langel, Libur, Lind, Poll, Porz, Urbach, Wahn, Wahnheide, Westhoven, Zündorf
Kalk (Stadtbezirk 8)
Brück, Höhenberg, Humboldt/Gremberg, Kalk, Merheim, Neubrück, Ostheim, Rath/Heumar, Vingst
Mülheim (Stadtbezirk 9)
Buchforst, Buchheim, Dellbrück, Dünnwald, Flittard, Höhenhaus, Holweide, Mülheim, Stammheim


Modern Cologne

Cologne has several museums. The famous Roman-Germanic Museum features art and architecture from the city's distant past; the Museum Ludwig houses one of the most important collections of modern art in Europe, including a Picasso collection matched only by the museums in Barcelona and Paris (also see landmarks). The Schnütgen Museum of religious art is housed in one of Cologne's outstanding Romanesque churches. Several orchestras are active in the city, among them the Gürzenich Orchestra and Musica Antiqua Köln, as well as several choirs, including the WDR Rundfunkchor Köln. Cologne was also an important centre of electronic music in the 1950s (Studio für elektronische Musik, Karlheinz Stockhausen) and again from the 90s onward. The public radio and TV station WDR was involved in promoting musical movements such as Krautrock in the 70s; the influential Can was formed there in 1968. There are several centers of nightlife, among them the Kwartier Latäng (the student quarter around the Zülpicher Straße) and the nightclub-studded areas around the Friesenplatz and Rudolfplatz.

The large annual literary festival Lit.Cologne features regional and international authors. The main literary figure connected to Cologne is writer Heinrich Böll, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Cologne is well-known for its beer, called Kölsch. Kölsch is also the name of the local dialect. This has led to the common joke of Kölsch being the only language one can drink.

Cologne is also famous for Eau de Cologne (Kölnisch Wasser). At the beginning of the 18th century, Italian expatriate Johann Maria Farina created a new fragrance and named it after his hometown Cologne, Eau de Cologne (Water of Cologne). In the course of the 18th century the fragrance became increasingly popular. Eventually, Cologne merchant Wilhelm Mülhens secured the name Farina, which at that time had become a household name for Eau de Cologne, under contract and opened a small factory at Cologne's Glockengasse. In later years, and under pressure from court battles, his grandson Ferdinand Mülhens chose a new name for the firm and their product. It was the house number that was given to the factory at Glockengasse during French occupation of the Rhineland in the early 19th century, number 4711. In 1994, the Mülhens family sold their company to German Wella corporation. In 2003 Procter & Gamble took over Wella. Today, original Eau de Cologne still is produced in Cologne by both the Farina family (Farina gegenüber since 1709), currently in the eighth generation, and by Mäurer and Wirtz who bought the 4711 brand in December 2006.


Cologne carnival is one of the biggest street festivals in Europe. In Cologne, the carnival season officially starts on 11 November at 11 minutes past 11 a.m. with the proclamation of the new Carnival Season, and continues until Ash Wednesday. But the so-called "Tolle Tage" (mad days) don't start until Weiberfastnacht (Women's Carnival) or, in dialect, Wieverfastelovend (Thursday before Ash Wednesday), which is the beginning of the street carnival. Hundreds of thousands of visitors flock to Cologne during this time. Generally, around a million people are celebrating in the streets on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday.[6]


Roman Cologne

The first urban settlement on the grounds of what today is the center of Cologne was Oppidum Ubiorum, which was founded in 38 BC by the Ubii, a Germanic tribe. Cologne became acknowledged as a city by the Romans in 50 AD by the name of Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium. Considerable Roman remains can be found in contemporary Cologne, especially near the wharf area, where a notable discovery of a 1900 year old Roman boat was made in late 2007.[7] From 260 to 271 Cologne was the capital of the Gallic Empire under Postumus, Marius and Victorinus. In 310 under Constantine a bridge was built over the Rhine at Cologne.

Maternus, who was elected as bishop in 313, was the first known bishop of Cologne. The city was the capital of a Roman province until occupied by the Franks in 459. In 785, Cologne became the seat of an archbishopric.

Middle Ages

Cologne around 1411

During the time of the Holy Roman Empire in the Middle Ages, the Archbishop of Cologne was one of the seven prince-electors and one of the three ecclesiastical electors. The archbishops had ruled large temporal domains but in 1288 Sigfried II von Westerburg was defeated in the Battle of Worringen and forced into exile at Bonn.

Cologne's location on the river Rhine placed it at the intersection of the major trade routes between east and west and was the basis of Cologne's growth. Cologne was a member of the Hanseatic League and became a Free Imperial City in 1475. Interestingly the archbishop nevertheless preserved the right of capital punishment. Thus, the municipal council (though in strict political opposition towards the archbishop) depended upon him in all matters concerning criminal jurisdiction. This included torture, which sentence was only allowed to be handed down by the episcopal judge, the so-called "Greve". This legal situation lasted until the French conquest of Cologne.

Besides its economic and political significance Cologne also became an outstanding centre of medieval pilgrimage, when Cologne's Archbishop Rainald of Dassel gave the relics of the Three Wise Men to Cologne's cathedral in 1164 (after they in fact had been captured from Milan). Besides the three magi Cologne preserves the relics of Saint Ursula and Albertus Magnus.

The economic structures of medieval and early modern Cologne were characterized by the city's status as a major harbor and transport hub upon the Rhine. Craftsmanship was organized by self-administering guilds, some of which were exclusive to women.

As a free city Cologne was a sovereign state within the Holy Roman Empire and as such had the right (and obligation) of maintaining its own military force. Wearing a red uniform these troops were known as the Rote Funken (red sparks). These soldiers were part of the Army of the Holy Roman Empire ("Reichskontingent") and fought in the wars of the 17th and 18th century, including the wars against revolutionary France, when the small force almost completely perished in combat. The tradition of these troops is preserved as a military persiflage by Cologne's most outstanding carnival society, the Rote Funken.[8]

The free city of Cologne must not be confused with the Archbishopric of Cologne which was a state of its own within the Holy Roman Empire. Since the second half of the 16th century the archbishops were taken from the Bavarian dynasty Wittelsbach. Due to the free status of Cologne, the archbishops usually were not allowed to enter the city. Thus they took residence in Bonn and later in Brühl on Rhine. As members of an influential and powerful family and supported by their outstanding status as electors, the archbishops of Cologne repeatedly challenged and threatened the free status of Cologne during the 17th and 18th century, resulting in complicated affairs, which were handled by diplomatic means and propaganda as well as by the supreme courts of the Holy Roman Empire.

19th and 20th century

Cologne lost its status as a free city during the French period. According to the Peace Treaty of Lunéville (1801) all the territories of the Holy Roman Empire on the left bank of the Rhine were officially incorporated into the French Republic (which already had occupied Cologne in 1798). Thus, this region later became part of Napoleon's Empire. Cologne was part of the French Département Roer (named after the River Roer, German: Rur) with Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle) as its capital. The French modernized public life, for example by introducing the Napoleonic code and removing the old elites from power. The Napoleonic code remained in use on the left bank of the Rhine until 1900, when a unified civil code (the Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch) was introduced in the German Empire. In 1815, at the Congress of Vienna, Cologne was made part of the Kingdom of Prussia, first in the Jülich-Cleves-Berg province and then the Rhine province.

The permanent tensions between the Roman Catholic Rhineland and the overwhelmingly Protestant Prussian state repeatedly escalated with Cologne being in the focus of the conflict. In 1837 the archbishop of Cologne, Clemens August von Droste-Vischering, was arrested and imprisoned for two years after a dispute over the legal status of marriages between Protestants and Roman Catholics (Mischehenstreit). In 1874 during the Kulturkampf, Archbishop Paul Melchers was imprisoned before taking refuge in the Netherlands. These conflicts alienated the Catholic population from Berlin and contributed to a deeply felt anti-Prussian resentment, which was still significant after World War II, when the former mayor of Cologne, Konrad Adenauer, became the first West German chancellor.

During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Cologne absorbed numerous surrounding towns, and by World War I had already grown to 700,000 inhabitants. Industrialization changed the city and spurred its growth. Vehicle and engine manufacturing were especially successful, though heavy industry was less ubiquitous than in the Ruhr area. The cathedral, started in 1248 but abandoned around 1560, was eventually finished in 1880 not just as a place of worship but also as a German national monument celebrating the newly founded German empire and the continuity of the German nation since the Middle Ages. Some of this urban growth happened at the expense of the city's historic heritage with much being demolished (e.g. the city walls or in the area around the cathedral) and sometimes replaced by contemporary constructions. On the other hand, Cologne was turned into a heavily armed fortress (opposing the French and Belgian fortresses of Verdun and Liège) with two fortified belts surrounding the city, the relics of which can be seen to this day. The military demands on what became Germany's largest fortress presented a significant obstacle to urban development, with forts, bunkers and wide defensive dugouts completely encircling the city and preventing expansion; this resulted in a very dense built-up area within the city itself.

After WWI, during which several minor air raids had targeted the city, Cologne was occupied by British Forces until 1926 under the terms of the armistice and the subsequent Versailles Peace Treaty.[9] In contrast to the harsh measures of French occupation troops in the Rhineland, the British acted with more tact towards the local population. The mayor of Cologne (the future West German chancellor) Konrad Adenauer acknowledged the political significance of this approach, as the British opposed French plans for a permanent Allied occupation of the Rhineland. In 1919 the University of Cologne (closed by the French in 1798) was refounded. It was meant as a substitute for the German University of Strasbourg that had become French in 1918-19. During the Weimar Republic (1919–1933) Cologne prospered under the guidance of Mayor Adenauer, with improvements especially in public governance, housing, planning and social affairs. Large public parks were created, in particular the two Grüngürtel (green belts), which were planned on the areas of the former fortifications, which had to be dismantled as part of the de-militarization of the Rhineland imposed by the peace treaty (this project was not completed until 1933). New social housing was held up as an example for other German cities. As Cologne competed for hosting the Olympics a modern stadium was erected in Müngersdorf. By the end of the British occupation, German civil aviation was readmitted over Cologne and the airport of Butzweilerhof soon became a hub for national and international air traffic, second in Germany only to Berlin-Tempelhof. By 1939 the population had risen to 772,221. Compared to other major cities the Nazis did not gain decisive support in Cologne and the number of votes cast for the NSDAP in Reichstag elections was always below the national average.[10]

World War II

During World War II, Cologne was a Military Area Command Headquarters (Militärbereichshauptkommandoquartier) for Military District (Wehrkreis) VI in Münster. Cologne was under the command of Lieutenant-General Freiherr Roeder von Diersburg, who was responsible for military operations at Bonn, Siegburg, Aachen, Jülich, Düren, and Monschau. Cologne was the Home Station for the 211th Infantry Regiment and the 26th Artillery Regiment.

Devastation of Cologne in 1945

In World War II, Cologne endured 262 air raids[11] by the Western Allies, which caused approximately 20,000 civilian casualties and almost completely wiped out the center of the city. During the night of 31 May 1942, Cologne was the site of "Operation Millennium", the first 1,000 bomber raid by the Royal Air Force in World War II. 1,046 heavy bombers attacked their target with 1,455 tons of explosives. This raid lasted about 75 minutes, destroyed 600 acres (243 ha) of built-up area, killed 486 civilians and made 59,000 people homeless. By the end of the war, the population of Cologne was reduced by 95%. This loss was mainly caused by a massive evacuation of the people to more rural areas. The same happened in many other German cities in the last two years of war. At the end of 1945, the population had already risen to about 500,000 again.

By that time, essentially all of Cologne's pre-war Jewish population of 20,000 had been deported or killed by the German regime of the time. The six synagogues of the city were destroyed. The synagogue on Roonstraße has since been rebuilt.

Post-war Cologne

Despite Cologne's status of being the largest city in the region, nearby Düsseldorf was chosen as the political capital of the Federal State North Rhine-Westphalia. With Bonn being chosen as the provisional capital (provisorische Bundeshauptstadt) and seat of the government of the Federal Republic of Germany, Cologne benefited by being sandwiched between the two important political centers of the former West Germany. The city became home to a large number of Federal agencies and organizations. After re-unification in 1990 Berlin was made the Federal capital of Germany.

In 1945 architect and urban planner Rudolf Schwarz called Cologne the "world's greatest heap of debris". Schwarz designed the master plan of reconstruction in 1947, which called for the construction of several new thoroughfares through the downtown area, especially the Nord-Süd-Fahrt ("North-South-Drive"). The masterplan took into consideration the fact that even shortly after the war a large increase in automobile traffic could be anticipated. Plans for new roads had already to a certain degree evolved under the Nazi administration, but the actual construction became easier in times when the majority of downtown lots were undeveloped. The destruction of famous Romanesque churches like St. Gereon, Great St. Martin, St. Maria im Capitol and about a dozen others in World War II meant a tremendous loss of cultural substance to the city. The rebuilding of those churches and other landmarks like the Gürzenich event hall was not undisputed among leading architects and art historians at that time, but in most cases, civil intention prevailed. The reconstruction lasted until the 1990s, when the Romanesque church of St. Kunibert was finished.

It took some time to rebuild the city. In 1959 the city's population reached pre-war numbers again. It then grew steadily, exceeding 1 million for about one year from 1975. It has remained just below that since.

In the 1980s and 1990s Cologne's economy prospered for two main reasons. Firstly, a growth in the number of media companies, both in the private and public sectors; they are especially catered for in the newly-developed Media Park, which creates a strongly visual focal point in down-town Cologne and includes the KölnTurm, one of Cologne's most prominent high-rises. Secondly, a permanent improvement of the diverse traffic infrastructure made Cologne one of the most easily accessible metropolitan areas in Central Europe.

Due to the economic success of the Cologne Trade Fair, the city arranged a large extension to the fair site in 2005. At the same time the original buildings, which date back to the 1920s are rented out to RTL, Germany's largest private broadcaster, as their new corporate headquarters.

Floods and flood protection

The 1930 flood in Cologne
The 1983 flood in Cologne

Cologne is regularly affected by flooding from the Rhine and is considered the most flood-prone European city.[12] A city agency (Stadtentwässerungsbetriebe Köln[13]) manages an extensive flood control system which includes both permanent and mobile flood walls, protection from rising waters for buildings close to the river banks, monitoring and forecasting systems, pumping stations and programs to create or protect floodplains and river embankments.[12][14][15] The system was redesigned after a 1993 flood which resulted in heavy damages.[12]


The center of Cologne was completely destroyed during World War II. The reconstruction of the city followed the style of the 1950s, while respecting the old layout and naming of the streets. Thus, the city today is characterized by simple and modest post-war buildings, with few interspersed pre-war buildings which were reconstructed due to their historical importance. Some buildings of the "Wiederaufbauzeit" (era of reconstruction), for example the opera house by Wilhelm Riphahn, are nowadays regarded as classics in modern architecture. Nevertheless, the uncompromising style of the opera house and other modern buildings has remained controversial.

  • Cologne Cathedral (German: Kölner Dom) is the city's famous landmark and unofficial symbol. It is a Gothic church, started in 1248, and completed in 1880. In 1996, it was designated a World Heritage site; it houses the Shrine of the Three Holy Kings that supposedly contains the relics of the Three Magi (see also[16] ). Residents of Cologne sometimes refer to the cathedral as "the eternal construction site" (Dauerbaustelle).
  • Twelve Romanesque Churches: These buildings are outstanding examples of medieval sacral architecture. The roots of some of the churches date back as far as Roman times, like St. Gereon, which originally was a chapel on a Roman graveyard. With the exception of St. Maria Lyskirchen all of these churches were very badly damaged during World War II. Reconstruction was only finished in the 1990s.
  • Cologne University, with approx. 44,000 students as of 2005, is the largest university in Germany.
  • Farina Fragrance museum, the birthplace of Eau de Cologne.
  • Römisch-Germanisches Museum (English: Roman-Germanic Museum) for ancient Roman and Germanic culture.
  • Wallraf-Richartz Museum for European painting from the 13th to the early 20th century.
  • Museum Ludwig for modern art.
  • Museum Schnütgen for medieval art.
  • Kolumba Kunstmuseum des Erzbistums Köln (Art museum of the archbishopric of Cologne), modern art museum built around medieval ruins, completed 2007.
  • EL-DE Haus, the former local headquarters of the Gestapo houses a museum documenting the Nazi rule in Cologne with a special focus on the persecution of political dissenters and minorities.
  • Kölner Philharmonie - the Cologne Philharmonic Orchestra Building housing both the Gürzenich Orchestra and the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne.
  • RheinEnergieStadion, the major Cologne stadium, primarily used for soccer games, seating 50,997 visitors in national games and 46,134 in international games, home to the local first division (Bundesliga) team, 1. FC Köln.
  • Lanxess Arena (formerly known as Kölnarena), a multifunctional event hall, home to the local ice hockey team, the Kölner Haie (English: Cologne Sharks).
  • Kölnturm (English: Cologne Tower), Cologne's second tallest building at 165.48 metres (542.91 ft) in height, second only to the Colonius (266 m/873 ft).
  • Colonius - a telecommunication tower with an observation deck (closed since 1992).
  • Colonia Hochhaus - Germany's tallest residential building.
  • Köln Triangle Tower - opposite the cathedral with a 103 m (338 ft) high viewing platform - in contrast to the cathedral with an elevator and a view with the cathedral over the Rhine.
  • Hansahochhaus - designed by architect Jakob Koerfer and completed in 1925, it was at one time Europe's tallest office building.
  • Rheinseilbahn - an aerial tramway crossing the Rhine.
  • Messe Köln (English: Cologne Fair). Exhibition area of 100,000 m2 (1,076,000 sq ft).
  • Messeturm Köln (English: Exhibition Tower Cologne).
  • Hohe Strasse (English: High Street) is one of the main shopping areas and extends past the cathedral in an approximately southerly direction. This street is particularly popular with tourists and contains many gift shops, clothing stores, fast food restaurants and electronic goods dealers.
  • Ford-Werke AG plants, assembling the Ford Fiesta and Ford Fusion as well as manufacturing engines and parts; headquarters for Ford of Europe.
  • The Panasonic Toyota Racing Formula One team has its factory in the city.
  • Schildergasse - extends the shopping area of Hohe Strasse to the west ending at Neumarkt.
  • Ehrenstrasse - the shopping area around Apostelnstrasse, Ehrenstrasse, and Rudolfplatz is a little more on the eccentric and stylish side.
  • Historic Ringe boulevards (such as Hohenzollernring, Kaiser-Wilhelm-Ring, Hansaring) with their medieval city gates (such as Hahnentorburg on Rudolfplatz) are also known for their night life.
  • German Sports & Olympic Museum, with exhibitions about sports from antiquity until the present.
  • Chocolatemuseum officially called Imhoff-Schokoladenmuseum.
  • JavaMuseum - Forum for Internet Technology in Contemporary Art - collections of Internet based art, corporate part of (NewMediaArtProjectNetwork):cologne - the experimental platform for art and New Media.
  • Flora und Botanischer Garten Köln, the city's formal park and main botanical garden
  • Forstbotanischer Garten Köln, an arboretum and woodland botanical garden
Cologne landmarks
Town hall  


The main entrance to the Lufthansa headquarters in Cologne

Lufthansa, the German flag carrier, has its main corporate headquarters in Cologne.[17] Lufthansa CityLine, a Lufthansa subsidiary, also has its main offices in Cologne.[18]

Ford has its European headquarters and a factory in the city.[19]

Toyota Team Europe (TTE), the Toyota's official motorsports team who responsible for Toyota rally cars, and then Formula One cars has headquarter and workshop in Cologne.



Major roads through and around Cologne.

Road building had been a major issue in the 1920s under the leadership of mayor Konrad Adenauer. The first German limited access road was constructed after 1929 between Cologne and Bonn. Today, this is A 555. In 1965 Cologne became the first German city to be fully encircled by a freeway belt. Roughly at the same time a downtown bypass freeway (Stadtautobahn) was planned, but only partially executed, due to opposition by environmental groups. The completed section became Bundesstraße ("Federal Road") B 55a which begins at the Zoobrücke ("Zoo Bridge") and meets with A 4 and A 3 at the interchange Cologne East. Nevertheless, it is referred to as Stadtautobahn by most locals. Fully accomplished in contrast was the Nord-Süd-Fahrt ("North-South-Drive"), a new four/six lane downtown thoroughfare, which had already been anticipated by planners like Fritz Schumacher in the 1920s. The last section south of Ebertplatz was completed in 1972.

In 2005 the first stretch of an eight-lane freeway in North Rhine-Westphalia was opened to traffic on Bundesautobahn 3, part of the eastern section of the freeway belt between the interchanges Cologne East and Heumar.

Public transport

Cologne, tram line station Ehrenfeldgürtel/Nußbaumerstraße
ICE train seen from left at Cologne Central Station
Cyclist in the city center

Cologne has a railway service with Deutsche Bahn Intercity and ICE-trains stopping at Köln Hauptbahnhof (Cologne Central Station), Köln-Deutz station and at Cologne Bonn Airport (Konrad-Adenauer-Flughafen). ICE and Thalys high-speed trains link Cologne with Amsterdam, Brussels (in 1h47, 6 departures/day) and Paris(in 3h14, 6 departures/day. There are frequent ICE trains to other German cities, including Frankfurt am Main and Berlin.

The Cologne city railway operated by Kölner Verkehrsbetriebe (KVB)[20] is an extensive light rail system that is partially underground (referred to as U-Bahn) and serves Cologne and a number of neighboring cities. Nearby Bonn is linked by both the city railway and Deutsche Bahn trains, and occasional recreational boats on the Rhine. Düsseldorf is also linked by S-Bahn trains which are operated by Deutsche Bahn.

There are also frequent buses covering most of the city and surrounding suburbs, and Eurolines coaches to London via Brussels.


Like most German cities, Cologne has a traffic layout designed to be bicycle-friendly. There is an extensive cycle network, featuring pavement-edge cycle lanes linked by cycle priority crossings. In some of the narrow one-way central streets, cyclists are explicitly allowed to cycle both ways.

Air transport

Cologne's international airport is Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN). It is also called Konrad Adenauer Airport after Germany's post-war Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, who was born in Cologne and was mayor of the city from 1917 until 1933. The airport is shared with the neighbouring city of Bonn. The headquarters of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is based in the city.


A 2006 FIFA World Cup venue, The RheinEnergieStadion, hosts both the city's football team "1. FC Köln" which competes in the Bundesliga, and the American football Cologne Centurions who played in the now defunct NFL Europa.

The city is also home of the ice hockey team Kölner Haie (Cologne Sharks), in the highest ice hockey league in Germany, the DEL. They are based at the Lanxess Arena. Cologne's basketball team "Köln 99ers" competes in the Basketball Bundesliga.

An annual Cologne Marathon was started in 1997.

From 2002-2009, the Panasonic Toyota Racing Formula One team was based in the Marsdorf suburb, at the Toyota Motorsport GmbH facility.

Coat of arms

The three crowns symbolize the Magi (Three Wise Men) whose bones are said to be kept in a golden sarcophagus in Cologne Cathedral (see Shrine of the Three Kings at Cologne Cathedral). In 1164, Rainald of Dassel, the archbishop of Cologne, brought the relics to the city, making it a major pilgrimage destination. This led to the design of the current cathedral as the predecessor was considered too small to accommodate the pilgrims.

The eleven tears are a reminder of Cologne's patron, Saint Ursula, a Britannic princess, and her legendary 11,000 virgin companions who were supposedly martyred by Attila the Hun at Cologne for their Christian faith in 383. The entourage of Ursula and the number of victims was significantly smaller; according to one source, the original legend referred to only eleven companions and the number was later inflated by relic traders.[21]


Climate data for Cologne, Germany
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 5.2 6.6 10.5 14.2 19.0 21.3 23.7 23.7 19.6 14.6 9.0 6.2 13.9
Average low °C (°F) 0.7 0.9 1.7 3.6 7.7 10.7 12.8 12.3 9.6 6.2 2.5 0.6 5.8
Precipitation mm (inches) 60 47 63 51 72 88 86 65 69 62 63 71 797
Source: Weatherchannel[22] March 2009

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Cologne is "twinned" with the following cities:[23]

Born in Cologne

Notable people, whose roots can be found in Cologne:

Panoramic image of Cologne City Centre
Panoramic image of Rhine river at Cologne, looking north towards Hohenzollernbridge


  1. ^ "Cologne Comedy Festival website". 2007-10-21. Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  2. ^ Information und Technik NRW; (2010-01-05). "Bevölkerung im Regierungsbezirk Köln". Retrieved 2010-01-05. 
  3. ^ "2007 - Einwohnerdaten im Überblick - Zahlen + Statistik - Bevölkerung - Stadt Köln". 2008-01-28. Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  4. ^ "WDR Article of 15.08.2007". Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  5. ^ "City of Cologne -> Figures Statistics Population (german)". 2008-02-08. Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  6. ^ "Carnival - Cologne`s “fifth season” - Cologne Sights & Events - Stadt Köln". 2008-01-26. Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  7. ^ "C.Michael Hogan, ''Cologne Wharf'', The Megalithic Portal, editor Andy Burnham, 2007". Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  8. ^ "Rote Funken - Kölsche Funke rut-wieß vun 1823 e.V. - Rote Funken Koeln". Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  9. ^ Cologne Evacuated, TIME Magazine, February 15, 1926
  10. ^ "Weimarer Wahlen". 2008-02-11. Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  11. ^ koelnarchitektur (2003-07-15). "on the reconstruction of Cologne". Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  12. ^ a b c "Flood Forecasting and Flood Defence in Cologne". Mitigation of Climate Induced Natural Hazards (MITCH). Retrieved 2009-03-20. 
  13. ^ "Stadtentwässerungsbetriebe Köln : Flood Management". Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  14. ^ "Flood Defence Scheme City of Cologne". Retrieved 2009-03-20. 
  15. ^ "Aqua Barrier Fights Cologne Flood". GEODESIGN AB. Retrieved 2009-03-20. 
  16. ^ "Offizielle Webseite des Kölner Doms | Bedeutende Werke". Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  17. ^ "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International: p. 107. 2007-04-03. 
  18. ^ "Contact." Lufthansa CityLine. Retrieved on 26 May 2009.
  19. ^ "(German) Über Ford - Standorte". Ford Germany. Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
  20. ^ "Kölner Verkehrsbetriebe (KVB)". Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  21. ^ "WM-Stadt Köln: Glaube, Lüge, Hoffnung - Reise - SPIEGEL ONLINE - Nachrichten". 2006-06-08.,1518,419312,00.html. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  22. ^ "Weather Information for Koeln, climatological information is based on monthly averages for the 30-year period 1971-2000.". Retrieved 2009-03-18. 
  23. ^ "Partnerstädte". Retrieved 2009-06-22. 
  24. ^ "Lile Facts & Figures". Retrieved 2007-12-17. 
  25. ^ "Kyoto City Web / Data Box / Sister Cities". Retrieved 2010-01-14. 
  26. ^ "Barcelona internacional - Ciutats agermanades" (in Spanish). © 2006-2009 Ajuntament de Barcelona.,4022,229724149_257215678_1,00.html. Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  27. ^ "Sister Cities". Beijing Municipal Government. Retrieved 2008-09-23. 
  28. ^ "Twinning Cities". City of Thessaloniki. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  29. ^ "::Bethlehem Municipality::". Retrieved 2009-10-10. 

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Cologne Cathedral and Hohenzollern bridge
Cologne Cathedral and Hohenzollern bridge
Cologne Cathedral, also known as Dom
Cologne Cathedral, also known as Dom

Cologne [1] (German: Köln, Cologne dialect: Kölle) is situated on the river Rhein in North Rhine-Westphalia and is the fourth largest city in Germany with around 1,000,000 inhabitants. It is one of the nation's media, tourism and business hotspots and is also known as the country's "gay capital".


The distinctive flavour to the city of Cologne is often put down to the inhabitants, or Kölsche, who take an enormous amount of pride in their city. Cologne, like most areas of Germany, has its very own local dialect of German, though this is unlikely to hinder the average sight-seeing tourist, as many of the landmarks of the city have English-speaking guides and information. For those tourists who speak German, and wish to practice it, the citizens have a lot of patience with those getting to grips with the grammatically difficult language. Colognians are very friendly people; welcoming tourists of all types and with all interests.

Away from the landmarks, many workers of the German rail system (Deutsche Bahn) speak English, as well as ticket/timetable machines available in English modes. Local transport systems, however, rarely cater for the English speaker, with only the bare essentials of information available but this should only concern those wishing to explore the city away from the more centralised sights. Those wishing to explore away from the central city should plan their journey before leaving, to prevent minor complications as there is a lack of English away from the centre of Cologne.

Older people in Cologne tend to have little or no knowledge of English, whilst businessmen and women, as well as the German youth, all tend to have a good knowledge of the language. Language is rarely a strong barrier, so this shouldn't be too much of a worry for the average tourist, just approach a friendly native and use a smile on your face, your arms and legs.


The climate of north-western Germany is changeable, with seasonal changes and day-to-day weather often comparable to that of the United Kingdom or northern France. Travellers to Cologne can expect the hottest time of the year to be July, the coldest is Feburary (you will seldom see snow though) and the month with the most precipitation is June.


German is of course the language of this city but it is very easy to find information in French and English, also sometimes in Spanish and Japanese. Due to a large number of immigrants, Turkish, Polish and Russian are also widely spoken. Announcements in the main train station (Hauptbahnhof) are in German, French and English.

Get in

By bus

Cologne has an (inter)national bus station (ZOB) it is located at Breslauer Platz on the north side of the Hauptbahnhof [2]. Direct daily buses to Serbia.

  • Cologne Bonn Airport (IATA: CGN), [3], handles international and domestic flights and is a hub for the low cost airlines Germanwings [4] and TUIfly [5]. The airport is approximately 15 minutes by S-Bahn (local train) to the center of Cologne. S-Bahn fare (ticket zone 1b) is currently €2.30 one-way.
  • Düsseldorf International Airport (IATA: DUS), [6] The Düsseldorf airport offers many intercontinental connections. Train ride from the airport train station to Cologne central station takes about 40 minutes.
  • Frankfurt Rhein Main International Airport (IATA: FRA), [7] is the largest airport in Germany, served by all major international airlines. ICE (InterCityExpress) high speed trains connect Frankfurt Airport and Cologne central station in less than one hour. Standard one way fare is €58. If you book your Deutsche Bahn train ticket online[8] three days before your departure to Cologne, there are a limited number of seats at a reduced price of 30-50%. If you pay full price you do not have to take a specific train, but discounted tickets are restricted to the train on your reservation. Note: Trains via Koblenz, which use the slower, yet extremely scenic route along the Rhine Valley are also 30% cheaper. The ICE train takes about one hour, the slower more scenic route takes about two hours.
Central Railway Station
Central Railway Station

Cologne is served by two major train stations - Köln Hauptbahnhof [9] and Köln-Deutz.

Cologne is linked with Amsterdam, Brussels, and Paris by Thalys and ICE High Speed trains. Additionally, the Frankfurt airport (IATA:FRA) has direct service to Cologne and is within one hour by ICE trains.

By car

As of January 1, 2008, Cologne requires all cars to have a "Low Emissions" sticker in order to drive around in the city center (Low Emission Zone, "Umweltzone"). Information on obtaining a sticker (which must be done at least several weeks in advance) is available here [10].

Plenty of motorways (Autobahns A1, A4, A3, A57, A555) lead to Cologne. During rush hour the streets are heavily congested, also due to massive construction of a new subway tunnel Nord-Süd Stadtbahn, crossing half the city centre.

For cheap parking, with quick connections to central cologne, use park and ride ("park und ride"). At some stations, parking is free when you present a validated transit ticket on exit. More info can be found here [11].

Find a street map, also showing where you can switch into a KVB subway, S-Bahn or Bus here [12].

Get around

Cologne has a very good subway/tram and bus network "KVB" (Kölner Verkehrsbetriebe); one- and three-day-passes are available. The tickets are valid for subway, tram and regional train within the VRS-network. Trips within the city limits require zone 1b tickets. For short trips of up to 4 stops on subway, tram or bus there is also the slightly cheaper "Kurzstrecke" (short trip ticket). A map of the network should be found at any station, and official Kölner Verkehrsbetriebe cologne station maps are available online here [13].

Cologne's subway and tram-system, or U-Bahn, is a mixture between both systems: A subway line can go on street-level and end up as a tram or vice versa. There are vending machines or ticket-offices at larger stations The trains and busses also have vending-machines. See the public bus, tram and subway-company KVB [14] for printable maps of the bus/tram/subway system and [15] for their official street map of Cologne.

Regional Trains are known as "S-Bahn", "Regional-Bahn" and "Regional Express". Not all the trains have ticket vending-machines so remember to buy a ticket at the station.

Cologne has, like Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt, a Call A Bike - System. After you sign up to the system, use your credit-card to pay per minute, and you can pick up or drop off one of the silver-red bikes anywhere in the city. See here [16] for details.

But, on the whole, the center of Cologne is not that big for a city of one million. It is entirely feasible to walk from one end of the center, say, the Rudolfplatz, to the other end, say, the Dom, on foot in half an hour. On the other hand, a trip by subway/tram line 13, which encircles the larger part of the town, takes close to 3/4 of an hour (Most sites attractive to tourists are located inside the #13 line's track or immediate outside it, and most sights are located within walking distance in the inner city).

Student Travel Tip: Student travel can be very cheap to and from Cologne, as well as the surrounding area. The German rail company (DB: Deutsche Bahn) offer a 'Schoene Ferien Ticket' during student holiday times and allows free travel throughout Northrhein Westphalia on local buses, trams, U-Bahn and some trains. Prices range from around €48 for summer holidays to €16 for Easter holidays, but prices can change year-on-year.

The ticket is available to anyone with valid student identification (student union card, enrolement card etc.) and personal identification (passport, driving licence etc.). Note: the ticket is only valid for student holiday dates of Northrhein Westphalia and the ticket is not valid for high speed express trains. Visit/contact Deutsche Bahn [17] for more information before travelling to Germany.

Kölner Dom
Kölner Dom
  • Kölner Dom, (U-Bahn: Dom / Hbf), [18]. Monday - Sunday: 6.00 - 19.30. Protected by UNESCO [19], Cologne's Dom is the first sight you will notice when taking the main exit from the central station. (If you don't see it, you've taken the back exit.) If you are in good shape, take the 509 stairs to the top of the south tower. It takes about an hour, so wear comfortable shoes, but it's worth the hike. Touring the Cathedral is forbidden during Mass. Entry into the cathedral is free but you will be asked for a donation. Admission to the tower costs (regular/reduced): €2.50/€1.50. Admission to the treasury costs (regular/reduced): €4/€2, however, a combined ticket granting you admission to the treasury and tower can be purchased for (regular/reduced): €5/€2.50.  edit
  • Die Kölner Synagoge, Roonstraße 50 (U-Bahn: Zülpicher Platz), +49/(0)221/921560-0 (fax: +49/(0)221/921560-9), [20]. The synagogue is notable for its architecture that looks, well, right out of Gotham City. The Torah within the synagogue was rescued by a Catholic priest from another synagogue as it was being burned during Nazi rule. In August of 2005 Pope Benedict XVI visited the synagogue, becoming the second pope to ever visit a synagogue.  edit
  • Veedel - City Quarters. Cologne is well known for its "Veedel" or traditional neighborhoods. Here, most notably in the bohemian Agnesviertel, you can find independent designers, bookshops, bars, and art galleries. There are also historical monuments, such as the North City Gate or Eigelsteintorburg in the Agnesviertel, very near to Fort X, built to protect the city from French attacks, and Agneskirche, a late neo-gothic church on the boulevardesque Neusserstrasse. Neusserstrasse also has a yoga school, an Aikido school, a great japanese restaurant, a well-stocked bookshop, and a range of pubs. Nearby you will find the Alte Feuerwache, where there are regular exhibitions on political topics and a surreal flea market every four weeks in summer. Opposite Alte Feuerwache is the Artclub, with regular exhibitions of contemporary art, and on Ebertplatz there is a cinema (Metropolis) which shows English language films in the original. On nearby Lübeckerstrasse, you will find the uncompromisingly Arty Filmpalette cinema. To round off a trip to the Agnesviertel, you might like a kölsch in the Lapidarium (right beside the North City Gate) or a coffee in Cafe Schmitz, Cologne's grooviest poser hangout (they also do a great breakfast.) All of these great places are within a short walk of Ebertplatz U-Bahn. Other "Veedel" include Ehrenfeld, Nippes, and the historical Südstadt.<see name="Agnesviertel, Ehrenfeld, Südstadt" directions="U-Bahn: Ebertplatz (Agnesviertel) Körnerstrasse (Ehrenfeld) Chlodwigplatz (Südstadt)"
  • 12 Romanesque Churches: St. Kunibert (with wonderful stained glass windows), St. Severin, St. Maria Lyskirchen, St. Andreas, St. Aposteln, St. Gereon, St. Ursula, St. Pantaleon, St. Maria im Kapitol, Groß-St. Martin, St. Georg and St. Cäcilien
  • Parks: Cologne has 2 park areas (Grüngürtel) encircling the city (immediately outside the medieval city limits) and nearly the entire town, respectively, which were set aside as public recreation areas after World War I. The inner Grüngürtel is probably more easy to reach for tourists who only stay a few days. Most notably are Volksgarten, Hiroshima-Nagasaki- (colloquially known as Aachener-Weiher-) and Stadtgarten parks where thousands of people come together to enjoy the sun, play and barbecue when the weather is fine. All these parks have an associated beer garden. Be aware to dispose any packaging, charcoal etc into the wastebins (which are unfortunately few and far between), as the city has begun to employ anti-littering patrols that will levy a stiff fine on anyone seen littering. Metro: Eifelplatz for Volksgarten, Universitätsstraße for Hiroshima-Nagasaki-Park, Hans-Böckler-Platz/Bahnhof West for Stadtgarten.

Museums and Galleries

Cologne has one of the world's best collections of museums and galleries for a city of its size. As well as world class museums of art and archaeology, Köln boasts two museums of ecclesiastical art, both housed in architecturally stunning buildings. There is also an ethnographic museum, a chocolate museum, the German Sport Museum and an abundance of Roman remains. One can purchase a MuseumsCard from one of the municipal museums (such as the first five listed below). The family card, which costs approximately €20, entitles 2 adults and 2 children (under 18) free admission to each of the municipal museums during two consecutive opening days. On its first day of validity, it can also be used as a ticket on all buses and trams on the local transportation system VRS.

  • Museum Ludwig, Bischofsgartenstraße 1 (U-Bahn: Dom/Hbf), +49/(0)221/221-26165 (, fax: +49/(0)221/221-24114), [21]. A museum of modern art, near central station and the Dom hosts a worthy regular exhibition, as well as temporary exhibitions.  edit
  • Museum für Angewandte Kunst, An der Rechtschule (U-Bahn: Dom/Hauptbahnhof), +49/(0)221/221-23860 (, fax: +49/(0)221/221-23885), [22]. Tuesday - Sunday: 11PM – 5PM. Museum für Angewandte Kunst has a collection of popular design items, as well as temporary exhibitions. Admission: Regular: € 4.20, Reduced: € 2.60.  edit
  • Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Martinstraße 39 (U-Bahn: Dom/Hauptbahnhof plus 10 minutes walk, Tram Heumarkt, Bus Rathaus or Gürzenich), +49/(0)221/221-27694 (, fax: +49/(0)221/221-22629), [23]. Thu 10PM - 8PM, Wed-Fri 10PM - 6PM, Sat-Sun 11PM - 6 The Wallraf-Richartz Museum is an art gallery with a collection of fine art from the medieval period to the early twentieth century. Admission: (permanent collection and special exhibition) € 9,-/reduced € 6,-.  edit
  • Römisch-Germanisches Museum, Roncalliplatz 4 (Adjacent to the Cathedral's right side from its main facade.), +49/(0)221/221-22304 (, fax: +49/(0)221/221-24030), [24]. Tuesday - Sunday 10 AM - 5 PM. Römisch-Germanisches Museum explores the history of Roman history in Cologne and the surrounding area. The museum's tour guides are exceptionally dull and can make any visit seem like it lasted just as long as the Roman empire. If you can, wander around the museum by yourself. Admission: €6.45 or €7.45 including admission to the praetorium (an excavation of various buildings).  edit
  • Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum für Völkerkunde, Ubierring 45 (U-Bahn: Ubierring), +49/(0)221/336940 (, fax: +49/(0)221/3369410), [25]. Tuesday to Friday: 10PM – 4PM Saturday and Sunday: 11PM – 4PM. North Rhine-Westphalia's only ethnological museum, it has a fine collection of Amerindian and Australian-Polynesian artifacts. Admission (including temporary exhibits): Regular: €4, Reduced: €3.  edit
  • Kolumba, Kolumbastraße 4 - 50667 Köln, [26]. An architectural wonder and a feast for the senses; this museum, built in concordance with the ancient foundations of the shrine of mary in the rubble contains a selection of historical and contemporary religious art. Worth visiting just to explore the spiritually inspiring spaces and the beautiful walkway through the ruins of the past .  edit
  • Schokoladenmuseum Köln GmbH, Am Schokoladenmuseum 1a, D-50678 Cologne, [27]. Opening hours: Tues. to Fri. 10PM to 6PM Sat., Sun., holidays* 11PM to 7PM closed on Mondays (* see visitors' information) Last admittance one hour before closing. Chocolate Museum in Cologne. It's a short visit but very interesting exhibits.  edit


Cologne's strong side is its cultural life. For latest information on what is happening around in town, get the "StadtRevue" (2 Euro), "Kölner" (1 Euro) or "Live" (Free). See also the official website [28].

  • Karneval The biggest festivity in Cologne is the Winter carnival (or Fastelovend) in February. According to the official Cologne tourism website (see Futher Information section): "Its highlight is the street carnival taking place from Weiberfastnacht (the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, traditionally the day on which women take control of the city) to Karnevalsdienstag (Shrove Tuesday). On Rosenmontag (Shrove Monday) more than one and a half million people line Cologne's streets to watch the parade with the mad triad – the prince, farmer, and virgin – every year." Dates for Carneval: 2008 Jan 31st to Feb 05th, 2009 Feb 19th to Feb 24th, 2010 Feb 11th to Feb 16th
  • Christopher Street Day [29]; CSD is a large gay pride festival held in Cologne annually on the Heumarkt square. The event showcases music, a candle light vigil remembering those with HIV/AIDS, and on the final day of the festival a large parade is held. Recently, up to a million people have attended the events.
  • Kölner Seilbahn; Riehler Straße 180; Phone: +49 221-547-4183 (Line open until 6 PM); [30]; Hours: April - October 10 AM - 6 PM; Take a ride with the Aerial tramway across Rhine river, Germany's only cablecar crossing a river! Price: Adults: One way - €3.80, Return trip - €5.50, Children (Aged 4 - 12): One way - €2.20, Return trip - €3
  • The Zoo; Riehler Straße 173; Phone: +49 221-7785 - 0; Email:; [31]; Hours: Summer: 9 AM - 6 PM, Winter: 9 AM - 5 PM, Aquarium: 9 AM - 6 PM; Admission: Adults: €13, Teenagers (Aged 14 - 17): €8.50 Children (Aged up to 14): €6
  • Phantasialand -Berggeiststr. 31-41 (In the town of Brühl); Telephone +49 ; Hours: 9 Am - 8 PM, Rides open at 10 AM, Ticket office closes at 4 PM; - Phantasialand is a fun place for children and has some fun rides for adults too. Even the Colorado Adventure roller coaster is sponsored by Michael Jackson. Admission: Children: (Up to one meter in height) - Free, Children: (Between one meter and 1.45 meters) € 27.50, Adults: €31, Senior citizens: € 21, Two day passes available.
  • Unsichtbar, "Unsichtbar" is a play of words. Literally it means "invisible", but the suffix "bar" also refers to being a bar. You will get your private butler, who is a blind person, and you eat in total darkness. [32] Im Stavenhof 5-7, near Hansaring and Ebertplatz, open 1800-0000. You can choose your meal in a showroom and then your personal blind butler will lead you to the dark room where you have to smell, feel, maybe touch and of course eat your meal, but you won't see it. You'll have to refer to your butler about everything, whether going to the bathroom or refilling your glass. You are not allowed to smoke, use a cellphone or do anything else that could lighten up the room. The food on your plate is explained to you by using a clock-like system (e.g. "beans are on three o'clock"). It's an excursion into the world of blind people, who are supported this way, and a really good restaurant, too. For weekends you have to book around 13 weeks in advance, but during the week you'll get a free table (with a little luck).
  • Claudius Therme, Sachsenbergstraße 1, Telefon: (0221) 981440, [33]. 09.00-24.00. Just below the Kölner Seilbahn is the Claudius Therme. Spend a very relaxing few hours unwinding in both indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, cold plunge pools, etc. Several areas are naturist (not clothing optional). Towels are available to rent and food and drink is served on-site. One nice option is to take the Kölner Seilbahn to the Therme and return by bus (directly in front of entrance) to Köln Deutz Station where you can catch U-Bahn back to the City Centre.  edit
  • Metropolis Cinema, Ebertplatz 19, Telefon: (0221) 722436, [34]. 15.00-24.00. If you want to go to the movies while visiting Cologne and you don't know German, this is the cinema for you. In the evenings it shows movies in their native language, but mostly English.  edit
  • Cologne Tourist Office; Unter Fettenhennen 19 (Directly opposite the front entrance of the cathedral); Phone: +49 221-221304 00; [35]; Hours: Monday - Friday 9 AM - 10 PM, Saturday & Sunday 10 AM - 6 PM. Take the U-Bahn to 'Dom/Hbf'.

The Cologne Tourist Office offers a wealth of information for the traveller who wishes to fill their itinerary with activities around the city. Ask about guide books that are available, most of which provide invaluable information for free. [36]

  • KD Rhine River Cruise; Frankenwerft 35; Phone: +49 221-208 83 18; [37]; Departure times: Daily: 10:30 AM, 12:00 PM, 2:00 PM, 6:00 PM; Köln-Düsseldorf offers cruises of the Rhine river around the Cologne area with an explanation of landmarks. €6.80
  • Stattreisen e.V.; Phone +49 221-7325113; [38]; this non-profit organization offers excellent tours of Cologne, led by volunteers. The prices are moderate and there is a huge list of tours, including (besides the more regular tours) Koelsch tours (for testing the breweries) or language lessons in the local dialect (again, in a brewery). Ask for English tours, some guides are willing to conduct a normally German tour in English.

Spa and Massage

Beauty and spa treatments are popular in Cologne.

Just be aware that in typical German style, all sauna areas (referred to as "Saunalandschaften", i.e. Sauna landscapes) are mixed (apart from the odd "Damentag") and that bathing costumes are banned from them for hygienic reasons. Yup. Starkers, everybody. Do take a bathrobe (to keep you from the cold outside the saunas) and a large towel (to put under you in the saunas, no sweating on the wood, please) with you, though. Do not draw hasty conclusions either : mixed nudity does not make those places dens of sin, quite in the contrary. Nudity is considered as the only appropriate outfit in saunas, and it all happens in a disciplined, wholesome, safe and respectful atmosphere. Possibly one of the highest forms of German civilisation one can experience. Gawkers and bathing costume-wearers will be expelled by the staff without qualms, so don't even think you can get away with playing the tourist who didn't know, it won't make a difference. That very matter-of factly, uneroticised approach to mixed nudity may well turn out to be a revelation to many visitors open-minded enough to give it a try and go with the flow. You've been warned !


  • Claudius Therme [39] Large spa with pool and lots of different saunas (indoors and outdoors) next to the Rhine, north of Deutz.
  • Mauritius Therme [40] Decent Saunalanschaft in an hotel south of Neumarkt.
  • Neptunbad [41], located in the popular area of Ehrenfeld in an old renovated bath, to which an attractive "sauna landscape" in japanese style on two levels has been added. Also a comprehensive fitness center.
  • Mediterana [42], 11 saunas and a huge pool, in Bergisch Gladbach, East of Cologne
  • Saunas in public swimming pools [43] Some of the public swimming pools managed by the Cologne city council, notably Agrippabad, do have small Saunalandschaften too, all featuring a Damentag (ladies only day)


  • Ananda [44], Tantra massage, an open minded and liberal attitude essential because the massages includes sexually sensitive body parts, however, no sexual services are given by the employees.
  • Samudra [45], floating tanks and wellness massages



There is an abundance of record stores in Cologne, but most are hidden in non-tourist quarters.

  • For a mainstream record store, go to Saturn, which hosts the "world's largest CD collection", as they quote on their store windows. It's huge, and to pre-listen a record, you just have to hold it under one of the many scanners spread throughout the shop. Always worth a visit. Subway and Regional Train from central station: Hansaring
  • Independent record stores are spread around Saturn: Cross the street for 2nd hand and punk, follow the "Ring" (boulevard) north, and you will find Jazz, Electro and HipHop at Schallschock record store. Famous alternative music-store Normal is south of Saturn, as well as Underdog Record Store (specialized in Alternative Rock, Emo, Garage and related matters) Subway and Regional Train from central station: Hansaring
  • For electronic music, get off at Friesenplatz, and go to groove attack in Maastrichter street. Also famous is Kompakt record store. Both are connected to a label sharing the name, and putting out fine German electronic music. Subway: Friesenplatz
  • "Mayersche" and "Thalia" at Neumarkt are the biggest bookstores, you will find anything you want.
  • On "Ehrenstraße", you will find cheap and arty books, take a look at "Buchhandlung König" at the eastern end, buy art books at well known "Taschen" at the corner of Ehrenstraße and the Ring.
  • Travel books are bought best at "Gleumes", between Zülpicher Platz and Rudolfplatz. They have only maps and travel books, but these from around the world.
  • BOOKS IN ENGLISH! - "English Books and Tea", Auf dem Rothenberg 9a, in the heart of the old town, stocks a wide range of new and secondhand books in English. It also offers a choice of teas and conversation and invaluable tourist orientation - all in English.


Cologne has a wide variety of restaurants, both German and otherwise, as a glance in the colored pages of the local telephone book will illustrate.

Traditional Scene

One can eat pretty well in most traditional-style Kölsch restaurants, and in fact as a visitor, you should try some of the local food, which is quite rustic, but tasty, hearty fare.

The brewery taps (Früh, Sion, Pfaffen, Malzmühle etc. in the old town south of the Dom) are worth taking note of to that respect, although they tend to be expensive for what you get.

Places out of the way such as Schreckenskammer and Max Stark [46] (north of the train station, the former being within crawling distance of the Station Backpackers Hostel), Päffgen (Friesenstrasse) and both of Cologne independent brewpubs (Hellers Brauhaus [47] on Roonstrasse and Braustelle [48] in Ehrenfeld) offer cheaper, better food that the old town tourist traps. Besides, most of these places have tons of atmosphere, which doesn't hurt ! You may also experience the deadly dry wit of the Köbes (traditional name of the blue-clad waiters) in most of those places. If it happens to you, don't get upset, just enter the game, send the Köbes packing with a dig and a smile and you'll be all right.

You'll mostly find typical Rheinland dishes in those traditional Kneipen. Classics include :

- Halver Hahn : nice big slab of dutch gouda with a rye roll (Röggelchen)

- Himmel und Äd mit Flönz : fried black pudding with mashed potatoes ("earth"), apple sauce ("heaven") and fried onions.

- Soorbrode / Sauerbraten : joint marinated in vinegar with raisins, usually served with red cabbage and a kloss (potato dumpling). The joint may be beef or horsemeat, so you may want to ask first...

- Dicke Bunne mit Speck : boiled white beans with hefty boiled bacon slices on top.

- Schweinshaxe (grilled); Hämchen (cooked): pig's leg, usually a bit of a monster (ranges from 600 to 1400 grms, including the bone)

- Rievekoochen / Reibekuchen : flat fried potato cakes usually on offer once a week, and served with a variety of sweet or savoury toppings, which may include apple sauce, Rübenkraut (the beet-sourced equivalent to black treacle) or smoked salmon with horseradish cream.

Ethnic Scene

If you are looking for a snack, you can either head for one of the Turkish, Arabic or Asian places, or you can make use of the traditional fast food places like Mc Donalds, Burger King etc. Italian restaurants in Cologne seem to attempt to aim for a higher quality than in the UK, though it is debatable whether they achieve it, and whether their prices (often 150-200% of UK prices) are justified. There are several Indian restaurants across the city, which serve a fair fare, though the visiting Brit may be slightly disappointed to find that German 'curry culture' is rather akin to that of the UK in the 1960s: menus are neither large and varied, nor regionalised and specialist, and although ingredients are fresh, the food without exception appears to be tamed-down for the conservative German palate and the cooks are rather hesistant to spice it up even if you ask for it. "Clay Oven" (Luxemburger Straße near Südbahnhof) and "Bombay" (near Eifelstraße tram station) do make a vindaloo that will satisfy the most hardy customer, though. More recently, Japanese and Thai restaurants have become more common; both are quite expensive.

  • Hauptbahnhof - The ground floor of the central train station has a good number of cheap eateries, which include Pizza Hut to kiosks selling sausages.
  • Falafel Habibi located on Zülpicher Straße. They have two stores, which serve the same food (though sweetmeats may vary).
  • There is an abundance of Döner Kebap and similar takeaways around the town. Generally a lot of Turkish snack bar-style places can be found just north of the main station at Eigelstein, around Zülpicher Platz and in the Belgisches Viertel, with some excellent Lebanese and Persian takeaways further down Zülpicher Straße towards Südbahnhof. Probably best now (though expensive) is Oruc Döner on Kyffhäuserstraße (near Barbarossaplatz); while the kebap is quite good though not outstanding, their freshly baked pide bread is famous all over town. There are lots of Turkish restaurants and takeaways within Kalk, Mülheim and (mainly restaurants) in the Belgisches Viertel.
  • Borsalino, an Italian-style restaurant located on Zülpicher Straße close to Zülpicher Platz.[49] Very affordable prices.
  • Don Camillo, Hildeboldplatz 1a; phone 0221-138551; a small italian tabula calde style restaurant. Coming from Hohenzollenring, head into Breite Straße/Ehrenstraße and take the first road to the left.
  • Buffet Chang [50] - Large, clean and tasty Chinese style buffet (all you can eat for 6.50 Euro) on the top floor of DuMont Carré shopping mall, in the middle of the shopping district on Breite Straße. Open from 11.00 - 21.00 (Sundays and holidays 12.00 - 19.00). Also a good underground car park with reasonable hourly rates and discounts for microcars such as Smart and Mini.
  • Mama Mia, Alte Gasse 26, Phone [0] 221 / 11347, italian food, not too hungry person 10-15 Euro/ person
  • Ellopia , Carmerstrasse 106, Phone [0] 221 / 14198, deutsches Essen, you get served for 5-10 Euro/ person
  • El Inca, Görresstrasse 2, near Rathenauplatz.[51] Latin-american restaurant, open 1800-2400.
  • Johnny Turista, Rathenauplatz. Easy-going pub/restaurant offering snacks, hot dishes and a daily changing selection of tapas; prices are lower than in most tapas bars.
  • Selam, Ehrenfeldgürtel 91 (tram station Venloer Straße/Gürtel) [52] Ethiopian restaurant, opens 5 PM Tu-Fr and from 4 PM on weekends, closed on Mondays. Good selection of mild and spicy Ethiopian dishes served on the traditional plate of injera bread.
  • Farmer's Steakhouses with several branches on the Ring (near Friesenplatz), Wallrafplatz (near the Dom, off Hohe Straße), Kreuzgasse (off Schildergasse shopping street). At Lunchtime they usually have a special, that will give you a square meal for 6-7 Euro.
  • pepe, Spanish style food, tapas and cocktails [53] Antwerpener Straße 63, near Stadtgarten and west of Friesenplatz, open 1800-0200. Big plates for hungry eaters, cool crowd. Usually booked out after 1900, make a reservation by phone or e-mail the day before.
  • Landhaus Kuckuck, Olympiaweg 2, near Müngersdorfer Stadion (Aachener Straße).[54] Exquisite German, but also international meals, open Tuesday - Saturday 1200-2300 - Sunday 1200-1800.
  • Fischers Weingenuss & Tafelfreuden, Hohenstaufenring 53, between Zülpicher Platz and Rudolfplatz.[55] Exquisite french-like and modern food, great arrangements of wine and cheese. After noon you can get (quite) cheap 2-way dishes of the day including water or a glass of wine. You have to book (quite early) in advance and a menu will be created on your wishes.


Typical Cologne beer is called "Kölsch" and served in bars around town in small glasses, called "Stangen", of 0.2l. That way the beer is always fresh and cold. Don't worry, waiters will be fast to bring you a new one once your old one is (almost) finished. In more traditional bars and especially the breweries, the waiter (called "Köbes" in local language) will even hand you a fresh Kölsch without being asked, so it is easy to lose track of how much you drank. He will put a pencil line on your coaster for each beer that you drank, this will be the basis for your bill, so do not lose it! To stop the beer from coming, put the coaster on top of your empty glass.

If you buy bottled Kölsch, take either "Reissdorf", "Früh", "Gaffel" or "Mühlen", which are rated highest by Cologne citizens (There are about 30 more brands).

There are so many bars and pubs to choose from that you could spend most of the night going from one bar to the next. A really great bar is the Irish Pub, Flanagan's, in Altstadt located down below a building. Almost everybody speaks English in there if that's what you are looking for, and they have a really great Karaoke night on Sundays. The clientele is very friendly. For a comprehensive list, see [56], bars listed on the right.

  • For traditional breweries, head to the Altstadt around the Dom, where the "Früh Kölsch" brewery is the most authentic place, famous both with visitors and locals. You will find a younger crowd at "Hellers Brauhaus" on Roonstraße, near metro station Zülpicher Platz or "Brauhaus Pütz" on Engelbertstraße close to Rudolfplatz. Furthermore the "Päffgen", on the all-bar street Friesenstraße close to the Friesenplatz, and the "Mühlen" near Heumarkt are traditional brewery pubs but less touristy than the "Früh". Also recommended is Sion [57], which is a lesser known brand, but hailed to be very good, although some beer enthusiasts have found it lacking character from 2007 on. Most Altstadt pubs are somewhat scorned as "tourist traps" by locals, however: prices here are usually higher than e.g. on Zülpicher Straße.
  • There are a lot of modern bars and lounges all around town. More mainstream ones are on Zülpicher Straße. For something more independent and funky on this street, try Umbruch (funky) or Stiefel (punky). The Low Budget on Aachener Straße next to Moltkestraße metro is a nice, unassuming, punky bar which features a fine selection of drinks and often hosts concerts, poetry or cabaret sessions.
  • A lot of stylish places are in the so-called Belgian quarter between Aachener Straße and the Ring, e.g. famous M20 or the Hallmackenreuther.
  • Früh am Dom; Am Hof 12 – 14 (Just south of the cathedral, behind the Domhotel); Phone: +49 221-2613 - 211; [58]. Früh am Dom is a great place to try the local Kölsch brew.
  • Brauhaus Gaffel; Alter Markt 20-22; Phone: +49 221-257 7692; [59]; Hours: Daily: 11 AM - 1 AM;
  • Brauhaus Sion, Unter Taschenmacher 5 (Altstadt), +49 (0221) - 257 85 40, [60].  edit
  • Brauerei Päffgen, Friesenstraße 64-66 [61]
  • "Bar Orange" - on Sudermannplatz, near Ebertplatz. Great atmosphere and great cocktails, or just a beer and a lively chat with Milan, the resident philosopher, or Rainer and Arash, experts on local goings on.
  • Blue Lounge Party [62], every third Saturday, at the Bürgerhaus Stollwerck in Dreikönigenstrasse 23. Starts at 2200, tickets 5 €. Percussion-, brazil-, balearic- and deep house, techno, trance. A must for people who like this kind of music.
  • #TAUSEND Bar [63], Aachener Strasse 57 (Moltkestraße metro): various events & music, nice bar styled by a group of designers
  • Bodycheck Party [64], every second Saturday at the Filmhaus Köln on Maybachstrasse 111, metro station Hansaring. House, techno, always very good video projections.
  • 3Klang [65], on Ehrenfeldgürtel 127, metro station Venloer Str./Gürtel. Every third Friday, 2200-0500.
  • Blue Lounge Bar [66], on Mathiasstrasse, lesbian bar. Off-shoot of the very successful party mentioned above.
  • Basswerk Session [67], bi-monthly, the second Saturday at GEBÄUDE 9 [68], Deutz-Mülheimer Strasse 127-129 (tram 3 or 4, stop at KölnMesse/Osthallen), 2300--0500. Long-running and popular drum 'n' bass party in a defunct funky factory hall. Resident DJs often invite renowned guest DJs from the international d'n'b fringe. Alternates bi-monthly with the similar "Phonogenic" party in the same venue.
  • Art Of House Party [69] once a month, the second or third Saturday at Stadtgarten in Venloer Strasse 40 (Hans-Böckler Platz metro): nice and really crowded house Party, guests around 25.
  • Funky Chicken Club [70], every Tuesday at The O directly at Rudolfplatz (Rudolfplatz metro): legendary Cologne House Party since 13 years in beautiful venue, always crowded, good House and Electronic Music.
  • Apropo* [71], good Partys on Fridays and Saturdays with Soul, Funk, Disco and Hip Hop in a cosy venue located in Im Dau 17 (Ulrepforte or Severinstrasse metro) easy guests from 20 years on.
  • Underground* [72] on Vogelsanger Str. 200, metro station Venloer Str./Gürtel. Famous for concerts and partys with Rock, Metal, Punk and alternative music. Guests vary between 15 and 45.
  • Alter Wartesaal* [73] nifty bar and disco right beside the central station: various events & exclusive Parties
  • Die Werkstatt* [74] Houses clubs and concerts in an industrial area in Ehrenfeld.
  • Agenda Suicide Club* [75] Monthly club, moves around a lot. Plays acid, electro, indie and much more.
  • Station Hostel [76], Marzellenstrasse 40-48 (Across from the main station). Basic rooms and facilities and the breakfast is extra but good value none the less. They also have storage lockers (deposit) if you want to keep your valuables somewhere safe.
  • Jugendherberge Köln-Deutz, Siegesstrasse 5; Phone: +49 221-814711; Email:; [77].
  • Hostel 404 [78] , Neusser Strasse 404.
  • Black Sheep Hostel [79], Barbarossaplatz 1 (four stops by subway 16/18 to Barbarossaplatz; ticket:Kurzstrecke). Individually, creative new hostel in the middle of nightlife - small breakfast included.
  • Weltempfänger Venloer Str. 196 (Next to Piusstrasse subway station)

Located in a relaxed and bohemian neighbourhood, the hostel has got a nice bar and friendly staff.

  • Esplanade Hotel, Hohenstaufenring 56, Phone: +49-221-9215570, "" [80]. This privately-run, 3-star hotel is conveniently located in the heart of Cologne, 2 kilometres from the famous cathedral and a 10-minute walk from Friesenstrasse with its lively pubs and clubs. single room from € 90,90; double room from € 120,20 (per night incl. breakfast buffet)
  • Holiday Inn Cologne-Bonn Airport, Waldstrasse 255, Phone: +49-2203-5610, [81]. Within walking distance of the airport (unless you have a lot of luggage), but they run a shuttle. Sometimes you can find a decently-priced room here when prices in town go through the roof. Nothing (but the airport) in walking distance. €99- €250
  • Four Points by Sheraton Central Köln; Breslauer Platz 2; Phone: +49 221-16510; Fax: +49 221-1651333; [82]; Price: €70 - €200+
  • Drei Könige am Dom; Marzellenstrasse 58 - 60, 50668 Köln ; [83]; Price: €85,-
  • Cologne Marriott; Johannisstrasse 76-80; Phone: +49 221-942220; [84]; €81 - €385
  • Ibis Koeln Leverkusen; Lichstrasse 72; Phone: +49 214-830290; [85]; €59 -
  • Königshof Swiss Quality Hotel, Richartzstrasse 14-16, D-50667, (, fax: +49 (0)221 257 87 6 2). Three star hotel situated 500m away from the railway station in the city center and 13km from the airport. Double room from €121 (2009).  edit
  • Cologne Marriott, Johannisstrasse 76-80, +49 221 942220. A short walk from the railway station, the Cologne Marriott is surprisingly small, modern, and personal. Rooms are not huge, but they're immaculate and well appointed. Fou, the in-house "crazy brasserie", serves great breakfasts and casual French, while the excellent Executive floor lounge with breakfast, dinner and drinks is worth paying the extra for. €130-200.  edit
  • Hilton Cologne, Marzellenstrasse 13-17 (200 m from central station), Phone: +49-221-130710; [86]. Modern Hilton hotel in the center of the city, convenient for sightseeing. Prices go through the roof during trade fairs in Deutz. €115 - €400.
  • Hyatt Regency Cologne, Kennedy-Ufer 2A (in the old town), +49 (0)221 828 1234 (), [87]. 5 star hotel. 306 rooms and suites with views of the River Rhine. Host to gourmet restaurant "Graugans", 13 conference rooms and a spa.  edit
  • Im Wasserturm; Kaygasse 2; Phone: +49 221-200 80; [88]. A luxury hotel built inside of a 130 year old water tower. It has a designer interiour and a rooftop restaurant with panoramic views. Price: €180 - €840 per night
  • Le Meridien Dom, Domkloster 2a, +49 (221) 20240 (fax: +49 (221) 2024444), [89]. €130 - €480 per night..  edit
  • Savoy, [90]. A family run 5 star hotel with a huge spa area and a very nice rooftop bar. It's very close to the main station (Exit Breslauer Platz, Turn left, approx. 100 m) and has very good weekend offers. Known as the place of choice for many (German and international) celebrities.
  • Campingplatz Stadt Köln A Rhineside camping site with a view of the Dom and city centre, the low drone of the nearby highway bridge does distract from the otherwise peaceful locality. It is right by a cycle and walking trail into the city and is an ideal family site (although there aren't many activities for children), rates are very reasonable and the owner speaks english. Getting to the site is a little difficult, take the tram/train to Rodenkirchen and walk over the bridge, when on the other side turn downriver and the campsite is on the right, there is a restaurant nearby more information (also in English) [91]
  • Camping Berger [92] - another Rhine-side camping site, nearer public transport. with 125 spaces, a supermarket, playground and restaurant. Rates are reasonable (€6 for adult per night)

Stay safe

As in every big city criminal activity is also a problem in Cologne. A tourist should pay attention in the city centre, particularly for pickpockets. Stay away from young people looking for fights, especially on the Ring where there are a lot of clubs. During both day and night, it is advisable to be careful in outlying neighbourhoods like Chorweiler, Porz, Seeberg, Ostheim, Bocklemünd, Ossendorf, and Vingst. One should not provoke youngsters needlessly, because they often become violent and use knives and the like during attacks.


Religious services

Holy mass in Catholic churches near to the central station:

  • Dom, Domkloster 3 (next to the central station). [93] Sun: 7:00, 8:00, 9:00, 10:00, 12:00, 17:00, 18:30; Mon-Sat: 6:30, 7:15, 8:00, 9:00, 18:30
  • St. Andreas, Komödienstr. 8.[94] Sun: 9:00, 11:00, 18:00; Mon-Fri: 12:05; Sat: 9:00, 17:00
  • St. Mariä Himmelfahrt, Marzellenstr. 26.[95] Sun: 11:00; Wed, Thu: 10:30; Sat: 17:00, 18:30
  • Minoritenkirche, Kolpingplatz 5. Sun: 9:00, 11:00, 16:00; Tue-Fri: 9:00
  • Bonn, the former capital of West Germany is located due south and easy to reach by train or S-Bahn.
  • Königswinter A small town reachable by train.
  • Düsseldorf
Augustusburg Palace and Gardens
Augustusburg Palace and Gardens
  • Brühl, almost a suburb of Cologne, contains the Augustusburg Palace which has been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The palace is one of the key works of Balthasar Neuman, and contains one of the finest Rococco interiors in the world, the highlight being the main staircase. Also in the grounds is the magnificent hunting Lodge of Falkenslust. Brühl can be easily reached by train in around 20 minutes from Cologne. The theme park of Phantasialand is also in Brühl.
  • Ruhr area (Ruhrgebiet) If you are interested in heavy industry this might be a worthwhile trip. It is located about 100 km north of Cologne. The region, which was the center of montan (coal and steel) industry in Germany, is going through a structural transformation and proudly presents its industrial past on the Industrial Heritage Trail [96].
  • Zülpich is a small town southwest of Cologne dating from Roman times. It has a newly opened museum centered on Roman baths and bathing culture. It is also a gateway to the forested hills of the Eifel region.


Due to Cologne's proximity to the German/Belgian/Dutch border weekend trips to foreign destinations are easy to arrange. Thalys operates high speed trains to Paris and Brussels, and Deutsche Bahn to Amsterdam, making each city only a few hours away.

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Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Information about this edition
Written in 1828 and first published in Friendship's Offering, 1834 it was first collected in The Poetical Works of S.T. Coleridge, 1834. When first published it was headed Expectoration the second and followed on from On My Joyful Departure from the Same City, a layout which has been used in some later published collections.

In Köhln, a town of monks and bones,
And pavements fang'd with murderous stones,
And rags, and hags, and hideous wenches;
I counted two and seventy stenches,
All well defined, and several stinks!
Ye Nymphs that reign o'er sewers and sinks,
The river Rhine, it is well known,
Doth wash your city of Cologne;
But tell me, Nymphs, what power divine
Shall henceforth wash the river Rhine?

PD-icon.svg This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

COLOGNE (Ger. KOln, or officially, since 1900, Coln), a city and archiepiscopal see of Germany, in *he Prussian Rhine province, a fortress of the first rank, and one of the most important commercial towns of the empire. Pop. (1885) 239,437; (1900) 370,685; (1905) 428,503, of which about 80% are Roman Catholics. It lies in the form of a vast semicircle on the left bank of the Rhine, 44 m. by rail north-east from Aix-la-Chapelle, 24 south-east from Dusseldorf and 57 north-north-west from Coblenz. Its situation on the broad and navigable Rhine, and at the centre of an extensive network of railways, giving it direct communication with all the important cities of Europe, has greatly fostered its trade, while its close proximity to the beautiful scenery of the Rhine, has rendered it a favourite tourist resort. When viewed from a distance, especially from the river, the city, with its medieval towers and buildings, the whole surmounted by the majestic cathedral, is picturesque and imposing. The ancient walls and ditches, which formerly environed the city, were dismantled between 1881 and 1885, and the site of the old fortifications, bought from the government by the municipality, were converted into a fine boulevard, the Ring, nearly 4 m. long. Beyond the Ring, about 2 m. farther out, a new continuous line of wall fortifications, with outlying clusters of earthworks and forts, has since been erected; 1000 acres, now occupied by handsome streets, squares and two public parks, were thus added to the inner town, almost doubling its area.

Cologne is connected by bridges with the suburb of Deutz. Within the outer municipal boundary are included (besides Deutz) the suburbs of Bayenthal, Lindenthal, Ehrenfeld, Nippes, Sulz, Bickendorf, Niehl and Poll, protected by another widely extended circle of detached forts on both banks of the Rhine. Of the former city gates four have been retained, restored and converted into museums: the Severin gate, on the south, contains the geological section of the natural history museum; the Hahnen gate, on the west, is fitted as the historical and antiquarian museum of the city; and the Eigelstein gate, on the north, accommodates the zoological section of the natural history museum.

Cologne, with the tortuous, narrow and dark streets and lanes of the old inner town, is still regarded as one of the least attractive capital cities of Germany; but in modern times it has been greatly improved, and the evil smells which formerly characterized it have yielded to proper sanitary arrangements. The most important squares are the Domhof, the Heumarkt, Neumarkt, Alte Markt and Waidmarkt in the old inner, and the Hansa-platz in the new inner town. The long Hohe-strasse of the old town is the chief business street.

The cathedral or Dom, the principal edifice and chief object of interest in Cologne, is one of the finest and purest monuments of Gothic architecture in Europe (for plan,. &c. see Architecture: Romanesque and Gothic in Germany). It stands on the site of a cathedral begun about the beginning of the 9th century by Hildebold, metropolitan of Cologne, and finished under Willibert in 873. This structure was ruined by the Normans, was rebuilt, but in 1248 was almost wholly destroyed by fire. The foundation of the present cathedral was then laid by Conrad of Hochstaden (archbishop from 1288 to 1261). The original plan of the building has been attributed to Gerhard von Rile (d. c. 1295). In 1322 the new choir was consecrated, and the bones of the Three Kings were removed to it from the place they had occupied in the former cathedral. After Conrad's death the work of building advanced but slowly, and at the time of the Reformation it ceased entirely. In the early part of the 19th century the repairing of the cathedral was taken in hand, in 1842 the building of fresh portions necessary for the completion of the whole structure was begun, and on the 15th of October 1880 the edifice, finally finished, was opened in the presence of the emperor William I. and all the reigning German princes. The cathedral, which is in the form of a cross, has a length of 480, and a breadth of 282 ft.; the height of the central aisle is 154 ft.; that of each of the towers 511 ft. The heaviest of the seven bells (Kaiserglocke), cast in 1874 from the metal of French guns, weighs 543 cwt., and is the largest and heaviest bell that is rung. In the choir the heart of Marie de' Medici is buried; and in the adjoining side-chapels are monuments of the founder and other archbishops of Cologne, and the shrine of the Three Kings, which is adorned with gold and precious stones. The three kings of Cologne (Kaspar, Melchior and Balthazar) were supposed to be the three wise men who came from the East to pay adoration to the infant Christ; according to the legend, the emperor Frederick I. Barbarossa brought their bones from Milan in 1162, and had them buried in Cologne cathedral, and miraculous powers of healing were attributed to these relics. The very numerous and richly-coloured windows, presented at various times to the cathedral, add greatly to the imposing effect of the interior. The view of the cathedral has been much improved by a clearance of the old houses on the Domhof, including the archiepiscopal palace, but the new Hof, though flanked by many fine buildings, is displeasing owing to the intrusion of numerous modern palatial hotels and shops.

Among the other churches of Cologne, which was fondly styled in the middle ages the ",,holy city," (heilige Stadt) and "German Rome," and, according to legend, possessed as many sacred fanes as there are days in the year, are several of interest both for their age and for the monuments and works of art they contain. In St Peter's are the famous altar-piece by Rubens, representing the Crucifixion of St Peter, several works by Lucas van Leyden, and some old German glass-paintings. St Martin's, built between the 10th and 12th centuries, has a fine baptistery; St Gereon's, built in the 11th century on the site of a Roman rotunda, is noted for its mosaics, and glass and oil-paintings; the Minorite church, begun in the same year as the cathedral, contains the tomb of Duns Scotus. Besides these may be mentioned the church of St Pantaleon, a 13th-century structure, with a monument to Theophano, wife of the emperor Otto II.; St Cunibert, in the Byzantine-Moorish style, completed in 1248; St Maria im Capitol, the oldest church in Cologne, dedicated in 1049 by Pope Leo IX., noted for its crypt, organ and paintings; St Cecilia, St Ursula, containing the bones of that saint and, according to legend, of the 1 r,000 English virgins massacred near Cologne while on a pilgrimage to Rome; St Severin, the church of the Apostles, and that of St Andrew (1220 and 1414), which contains the remains of Albertus Magnus in a gilded shrine. Most of these, and also many other old churches, have been completely restored. Among newer ecclesiastical buildings must be mentioned the handsome Roman Catholic church in Deutz, completed in 1896, and a large synagogue, in the new town west of the Ring, finished in 1899.

Among the more prominent secular buildings are the Giirzenich, a former meeting-place of the diets of the Holy Roman Empire, built between 1441 and 1447, of which the ground floor was in 1875 converted into a stock exchange, and the upper hall, capable of accommodating 3000 persons, is largely utilized for public festivities, particularly during the time of the Carnival; the Rathaus, dating from the 13th century, with beautiful Gobelin tapestries; the Tempelhaus, the ancestral seat of the patrician family of the Overstolzens, a beautiful building dating from the 13th century, and now the chamber of commerce; the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, in which is a collection of paintings by old Italian and Dutch masters, together with some works by modern artists; the Zeughaus, or arsenal, built on Roman foundations; the Supreme Court for the Rhine provinces; the post-office (1893); the Imperial Bank (Reichsbank); and the municipal library and archives. The Wolkenburg, a fine Gothic house of the 15th century, originally a patrician residence, was restored in 1874, and is now the headquarters of the famous men's choral society of Cologne (Kolner Mannergesangverein).

A handsome central railway station (high level), on the site of the old station, and close to the cathedral, was built in 1888-1894. The railway to Bonn and the Upper Rhine now follows the line of the ceinture of the new inner fortifications, and on this section there are three city stations in addition to the central.

Like all important German towns, Cologne contains many fine monuments. The most conspicuous is the colossal equestrian statue (221 f t. high) of Frederick William III. of Prussia in the Heumarkt. There are also monuments to Moltke (1881), to Count Johann von. Werth (1885), the cavalry leader of the Thirty Years' War, and to Bismarck (1879). Near the cathedral is an archiepiscopal museum of church antiquities. Cologne is richly endowed with literary and scientific institutions. It has an academy of practical medicine, a commercial high school, a theological seminary, four Gymnasia (classical schools), numerous lower-grade schools, a conservatory of music and several high-grade ladies' colleges. Of its three theatres, the municipal theatre (Stadttheater) is famed for its operatic productions.

Commercially, Cologne is one of the chief centres on the Rhine, and has a very important trade in corn, wine, mineral ores, coals, drugs, dyes, manufactured wares, groceries, leather and hides, timber, porcelain and many other commodities. A large new harbour, with spacious quays, has been constructed towards the south of the city. In 1903, the traffic of the port amounted to over one million tons. Industrially, also, Cologne is a place of high importance. Of the numerous manufactures, among which may be especially mentioned sugar, chocolate, tobacco and cigars, the most famous is the perfume known as eau de Cologne (Kolnisches Wasser, i.e. Cologne-water).

Of the newspapers published at Cologne the most important is the Kolnische Zeitung (often referred to as the "Cologne Gazette"), which has the largest circulation of any paper in Germany, and great weight and influence. It must be distinguished from the Kolnische Volkszeitung, which is the organ of the Clerical party in the Prussian Rhine provinces.


Cologne occupies the site of Oppidum Ubiorum, the chief town of the Ubii, and here in A.D. 50 a Roman colony, Colonia, was planted by the emperor Claudius, at the request of his wife Agrippina, who was born in the place. After her it was named Colonia Agrippina or Agrippinensis. Cologne rose to be the chief town of Germania Secunda, and had the privilege of the Jus Italicum. Both Vitellius and Trajan were at Cologne when they became emperors. About 330 the city was taken by the Franks but was not permanently occupied by them till the 5th century, becoming in 475 the residence of the Frankish king Childeric. It was the seat of a pagus or gau, and counts of Cologne are mentioned in the 9th century.

The succession of bishops in Cologne is traceable, except for a gap covering the troubled 5th century, from A.D. 313, when the see was founded. It was made the metropolitan see for the bishoprics of the Lower Rhine and part of Westphalia by Charlemagne, the first archbishop being Hildebold, who occupied the see from 785 to his death in 819. Of his successors o'ne of the most illustrious was Bruno, brother of the emperor Otto I., archbishop from 953 to 965, who was the first of the archbishops to exercise temporal jurisdiction, and was also "archduke" of Lorraine. The territorial power of the archbishops was already great when, in 1180, on the partition of the Saxon duchy, the duchy of Westphalia was assigned to them. In the 11th century they became ex-of f icio arch-chancellors of Italy (see Arch Chancellor), and by the Golden Bull of 1356 they were finally placed among the electors (Kurfiirsten) of the Empire. With Cologne itself, a free imperial city, the archbishop-electors were at perpetual feud; in 1262 the archiepiscopal see was transferred to Briihl, and in 1273 to Bonn; it was not till 1671 that the quarrel was finally adjusted. The archbishopric was secularized in 1801, all its territories on the left bank of the Rhine being annexed to France; in 1803 those on the right bank were divided up among various German states; and in 1815 by the congress of Vienna, the whole was assigned to Prussia. The last archbishop-elector, Maximilian of Austria, died in 1801.

In Archbishop Hildebold's day Cologne was still contained by the square of its Roman walls, within which stood the cathedral and the newly-founded church of St Maria (known later as "im Capitol"); the city was, however, surrounded by a ring of churches, among which those of St Gereon, St Ursula, St Severin and St Cunibert were conspicuous. In 881 Norman pirates, sailing up the Rhine, took and sacked the city; but it rapidly recovered, and in the i ith century had become the chief trading centre of Germany. Early in the 12th century the city was enlarged by the inclusion of suburbs of Oversburg, Niederich and St Aposteln; in 1180 these were enclosed in a permanent rampart which, in the 13th century, was strengthened with the walls and gates that survived till the 19th century.

The municipal history of Cologne is of considerable interest. In general it follows the same lines as that of other cities of Lower Germany and the Netherlands. At first the bishop ruled through his burgrave, advocate, and nominated jurats (scabini, Scheen). Then, as the trading classes grew in wealth, his jurisdiction began to be disputed; the conjuratio pro libertate of 1112 seems to have been an attempt to establish a commune (see Commune, Medieval). Peculiar to Cologne, however, was the Richerzeche (rigirzegheide), a corporation of all the wealthy patricians, which gradually absorbed in its hands the direction of the city's government (the first record of its active interference is in 1225). In the 13th century the archbishops made repeated efforts to reassert their authority, and in 1259 Archbishop Conrad of Hochstaden, by appealing to the democratic element of the population, the "brotherhoods" (fraternitates) of the craftsmen, succeeded in overthrowing the Richerzeche and driving its members into exile. His successor, Engelbert II., however, attempted to overthrow the democratic constitution set up by him, with the result that in 1262 the brotherhoods combined with the patricians against the archbishop, and the Richerzeche returned to share its authority with the elected "great council" (Weiter Rat). As yet, however, none of the trade or craft gilds, as such, had a share in the government, which continued in the hands of the patrician families, membership of which was necessary even for election to the council and to the parochial offices. This continued long after the battle of Worringen (1288) had finally secured for the city full self-government, and the archbishops had ceased to reside within its walls. In the 14th century a narrow patrician council selected from the Richerzeche, with two burgomasters, was supreme. In 1370 an insurrection of the weavers was suppressed; but in 1396, the rule of the patricians, having been weakened by internal dissensions, a bloodless revolution led to the establishment of a comparatively democratic constitution, based on the organization of the trade and craft gilds, which lasted with but slight modification till the French Revolution.

The greatness of Cologne, in the middle ages as now, was due to her trade. Wine and herrings were the chief articles of her commerce; but her weavers had been in repute from time immemorial, and exports of cloth were large, while her goldsmiths and armourers were famous. So early as the 11th century her merchants were settled in London, their colony forming the nucleus of the Steelyard. When, in 1201, the city joined the Hanseatic League its power and repute were so great that it was made the chief place of a third of the confederation.

In spite of their feuds with the archbishops, the burghers of Cologne were stanch Catholics, and the number of the magnificent medieval churches left is evidence at once of their piety and their wealth. The university, founded in 1389 by the sole efforts of the citizens, soon gained a great reputation; in the 15th century its students numbered much more than a thousand, and its influence extended to Scotland and the Scandinavian kingdoms. Its decline began, however, from the moment when the Catholic sentiment of the city closed it to the influence of the Reformers; the number of its students sank to vanishing point, and though, under the influence of the Jesuits, it subsequently revived, it never recovered its old importance. A final blow was dealt it when, in 1777, the enlightened archbishop Maximilian Frederick (d. 1784) founded the university of Bonn, and in 1798, amid the confusion of the revolutionary epoch, it ceased to exist.

The same intolerance that ruined the university all but ruined the city too. It is difficult, indeed, to blame the burghers for resisting the dubious reforming efforts of Hermann of Wied, archbishop from 1515 to 1546, inspired mainly by secular ambitions; but the expulsion of the Jews in 1414, and still more the exclusion, under Jesuit influence, of Protestants from the right to acquire citizenship, and from the magistracy, dealt severe blows at the prosperity of the place. A variety of other causes contributed to its decay: the opening up of new trade routes, the gradual ossification of the gilds into close and corrupt corporations, above all the wars in the Netherlands, the Thirty Years' War, and the Wars of the Spanish and Austrian Succession. When in 1794 Cologne was occupied by the French, it was a poor and decayed city of some 40,000 inhabitants, of whom only 6000 possessed civic rights. When, in 1801, by the treaty of Luneville, it was incorporated in France, it was not important enough to be more than the chief town of an arrondissement. On the death of the last elector in 1801 the archiepiscopal see was left vacant. With the assignment of the city to Prussia by the congress of Vienna in 1815 a new era of prosperity began. The university, indeed, was definitively established at Bonn, but the archbishopric was restored (1821) as part of the new ecclesiastical organization of Prussia, and the city became the seat of the president of a governmental district. Its prosperity now rapidly increased; when railways were introduced it became the meeting-place of several lines, and in 1881 its growth necessitated the pushing outward of the circle of fortifications.

See L. Ennen, Gesch. der Stadt Köln (5 vols., Cologne, 1863-1880) to 1648, and Frankreich and der Niederrhein (2 vols., ib., 1855, 1856), a history of the city and electorate of Cologne since the Thirty Years' War; R. Schultze and C. Steuernagel, Colonia Agrippinensis (Bonn, 1895); K. Heldmann, Der Koingau and die Civitas Koln (Halle, 1900); L. Korth, Köln im Mittelalter (Cologne, 1890); F. Lau, Entwickelung der kommunalen Verfassung der Stadt Koln bis zum Jahre 1396 (Bonn, 1898); K. Hegel, Stadte and Gilden der germanischen Volker im Mittelalter (2 vols., Leipzig, 1891), ii. p. 323; H. Keussen, Historische Topographie der Stadt Köln im Mittelalter (Bonn, 1906); W. Behnke, Aus Kolns Franzosenzeit (Cologne, 1901); Helmken, Koln and seine Sehenswurdigkeiten (loth ed., Cologne, 1903). For sources see L. Ennen and G. Eckertz, Quellen zur Geschichte der Stadt Koln (6 vols., Cologne, 1860-1879); later sources will be found in U. Chevalier, Repertoire des sources hist. Topo-bibliographie (Montbeliard, 1894-1899), s.v. Cologne, which gives also a full list of works on everything connected with the city; also in Dahlmann-Waitz, Quellenkunde (ed. Leipzig, 1906), p. 17, Nos. 252, 253. For the archdiocese and electorate of Cologne see Binterim and Mooren, Die Erzdiozese Koln bis zur franzosischen Staatsumweilzung, new ed. by A. Mooren in 2 vols. (Dusseldorf, 1892, 1893).

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From French Cologne, from Latin Colōnia Agrippīna (Agrippine Colony), a settlement founded by Agrippina, the mother of Roman Emperor Nero; colōnia (colony) comes from colōnus (farmer; colonist), from colō (till, cultivate, worship), from earlier *quelō, from Proto-Indo-European *kʷel- (to move; to turn (around)).

Proper noun




  1. A city in northwestern Germany on the Rhine River.


See also



From Latin Colōnia Agrippīna (Agrippine Colony), a settlement founded by Agrippina, the mother of Roman Emperor Nero; colōnia (colony) comes from colōnus (farmer; colonist), from colō (till, cultivate, worship), from earlier *quelō, from Proto-Indo-European *kʷel- (to move; to turn (around)).

Proper noun

Cologne f.

  1. Cologne

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