Cologne Cathedral is the key attraction of the city panorama. Locals see their pride in its magnificent architecture, while tourists often use it for orientation in the city. The Cathedral is the second tallest building of the city, outrun only by the telecommunications tower. The construction of this Gothic-style building started on the Assumption if the Virgin Mary in 1248. The construction of the present-day cathedral was entirely completed around 500 years later in 1880.
The value and importance of a church in a religious world is determined by the relics it houses. Cologne Cathedral was built to house the mortal remains of the Three Kings. This fact made the cathedral a popular pilgrimage destination in Europe. When the major renovations were completed in 1880, the Cathedral became the tallest building in the world and kept the status for 4 years.
The Cathedral was damaged during World War II, but was not destroyed. The cathedral has, of course, been renovated, but construction works are in progress even today. One of the main post-war renovations are the windows consisting of hundreds of colored glass squares and designed by Gerhard Richter. This new design affects the lighting and adds a mysterious colored light to the interior. The arches create pools and rays of shadow that help the interior appear calm and heavenly – an ideal place to pray or sit quietly. The chancel is decorated with paintings that date back to the 14th century and sculptures of Jesus, Mary and the twelve Apostles.
The medieval crypt is where you can find the best treasures of the Cathedral, some of which date back to the 4th century. The collection includes sacred relics, sculptures, artworks of gold, silver and ivory. Cathedral grounds include 12 tombs of Middle Age archbishops. The monolithic slab on the altar is made of black sandstone and is believed to be the largest one in all Christian churches.
Another place of interest is the South Tower; climb up only 533 stairs and you’ll be able to enjoy the most beautiful view to the city of Cologne. You will also pass by the bell chamber, where the largest freely swinging church bell awaits its next performance. St. Peter’s Bell weighs 24 tonnes and is an inseparable part of the church.
The interior follows the characteristics of a Middle Age Gothic architecture. The gigantic body is held on 43m-high baldachin-style arches that rise up to the sky.
The two divine towers of the cathedral are the symbols of the city, a signature and the most impressive sight. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.