Cologne has more than just being the birthplace of the original Eau de Cologne, Kölsch beer and the Rhine. One of Germany’s oldest cities, it was also once capital of the Gallic empire in the 3rd century as well as a pilgrim destination due to relics of the Three Wise Men kept in a golden sarcophagus in its Cathedral.
An Ancient Heritage
This beautiful city’s history dates back as far as 39 BC when the Romans made it their northernmost colony, maintaining governance until around 5 AD. Evidence of Roman presence can be seen in the remains of the aqueducts, sewers and other structures within the older part of the city. The Alter Markt, once the city’s commercial centre, is also in the old town – a part of Cologne in which one could spend hours getting lost in its ‘ancientness’.
Despite massive destruction during the Second World War, Cologne has managed to retain most of its historical sites. Its most famous landmark, the Cathedral, is one building that especially managed to escape much of the War. Located in what is known as the old town, construction of the cathedral began in 1248 and took over 600 years to complete in 1880. It now stands as a proud monument for the city and its gothic beauty is always a source of fascination for tourists. Besides the relics mentioned earlier (known as the relics of the Holy Epiphany) it also contains other amazing works of art.
Perfume Scents And Siren Songs…
Your tour of the city should also include its most famous address, Glockengasse 4711 – home of the original Eau de Cologne. Besides that, the city houses several museums including the Ludwig Museum of modern art and the Kölnisches Stadtmuseum which depicts everything on the history and culture of Cologne dating back to 2000 years ago.
A trip to Cologne would of course not be complete without a boatride on Germany’s longest river which could take you all the way up to Drachenfels or Ruedesheim. Watch out for the Lorelei Rock, a huge slate rising out of the river at the point where it is most narrow, deep and dangerous. According to folklore, the Lorelei, a siren, would sit upon the rock and sing at passing boats, causing sailors to drift and crash as they looked up at her.
Then, too, there are the castles dotting the Rhine. Originally built for defensive purposes, seeing them can’t help but make one think of knights in shining armour and damsels in distress. Vineyards also dot the landscape, adding to the river’s serene beauty. It’s enough for you to just sit back and drink in your surroundings. While you’re at it, why not drop by at one of the castles just for the ‘feel’ of it!
If you’re up to it, take a quick trip down to Phantasialand Bruehl, Europe, for a whooping, screaming time out. It’s about 20 kilometres from Cologne and getting there is easy with plenty of transportation available.
Autumn is generally considered the best time to be in Cologne. If what you want is a rip-roaring fun time, make sure you go during the Cologne Carnival for which the city is famous. And if you’re looking for madcap fun, be sure you’re there during The Three Mad Days, marking the end of the carnival. The streets are officially declared open at the Alter Markt on the Thursday before the beginning of lent. And then it’s party time!
Cologne’s legend and folklore add to its romantic beauty. Beautiful buildings, lovely scenery, Kölsch beer and delicious food, all combine to give the tourist everything he needs for the perfect holiday.