March 4, 2012

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Photos of Cologne, Germany

Part of my 2011 European travel adventures


Cologne, German Köln, is the fourth biggest city in Germany (after Berlin, Hamburg and Munich). It's located in the Northwestern part of the country, between Bonn, the former capital of West Germany and Düsseldorf, the capital of North-Rhine Westphalia, the same Bundesland, where Cologne is home. The city is famous for its annual carnival and one of the tallest and largest cathedrals in the world, commonly known as the Dom. With its two 157.4m tall towers, the Cologne Cathedral overshadows the city and dominates the skyline. Is there more to Cologne than just the Dom? Let me show you some photos from my recent trip and find out.

1. My impression of Cologne

I have to say I had very high expectations before visiting Cologne due to so many stories about the city. The Cologners (or Kölner in German) are famous throughout Germany for their distinct dialect and their straight-forwardness. I only had a Sunday afternoon to explore the city and I didn't have many encounters with the locals. Most of the time I spent in and out the iconic cathedral, I did however make a small tour around he city center. No offence to proud Cologners, but apart from the cathedral, I've not seen anything interesting in the center. Not sure, where all the hidden gems are, but they're certainly hard to find or located outside the central part. All in all, if you don't have a lot of time, just stick to the cathedral, it will amaze you unlike anything else in Cologne.

2. My photos of Cologne

Below are my photos from an afternoon walk in Cologne from January 2012:

The Hauptbahnhof or Main station is located a minute away from the cathedral.

One of the parts on the side - even they are amazingly huge.

The small square in front of the Cologne cathedral.

Lots of people here: The Cologne Dom is Germany's most visited famous building.

The 157.4m tall church is so huge, it's hard to get the whole one on a photo.

The windows.

Towers from the side.

A detail from a tower.

The square in front of the Dom from another angle.

Apostles?

Look at the door handle. Everything goes into tiny detail here - Amazing!

The inside of the church was dark and huge, but somewhat soothing.

Even though I am an atheist, I truly enjoyed sitting in this cathedral. I took a break and reflected on my life - it was really a great experience. Of course I didn't have any religious feelings, it's more the architecture and the history that impressed me so much. All the details, the patterns and the sheer brutal massiveness surrounding you is humbling and intimidating at the same time. You ask yourself why would humans build something so huge? Why is this necessary? Why waste so much money and put so much efforts in building something so huge? It's illogical and conflicting with common sense, yet that's exactly what makes it so unique and so amazing. All I can say is: Go inside and experience it for yourself, words can hardly describe the feelings you will feel.

And then I decided to tour Cologne's city center:

A popular bakery.

A long shopping street followed - nothing special here

Lots of people, tourists and locals.

A small square. There were some interesting street performers in the area.

3. Cologne in conclusion

Cologne is worth a short trip to see the cathedral and since it's located close to the railway station, it's very convenient to make a brief stop when traveling from the Northwest to the south of Germany. Other than that, be very sure what you want to see and do and research the web well. Maybe you can find some hidden gems.

[My TRAVEL WEST page][All photos by MKL, 2012]

5 comments:

  1. They appear to have finally replaced the brick-work with which they repaired the bomb-damage near the front gate at the cathedral that was there last time I visited on a school trip in '95. Asides from that, all I can say is that next time you are off to Germany on business see if they cannot send you somewhere more interesting like Berlin where I was last week - excellent food, good scenery, nightlife, and shopping, and quite cheap as well.

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  2. @FOARP: Berlin is definitely on my list. But had no business in that area yet.

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  3. I enjoyed your pictures of the cathedral and I think maybe with a bit more time there you would have found a lot more of interest in Cologne.
    The time of year you go can play a big part in the overall experience and the memories you take away from the city.
    In my opinion a summer day there is fantastic for sipping beer and enjoying some good company. However, it is most famous among tourists for the Cologne christmas markets. The festive season is lovely here and there are a few different markets to wander around. You would definitely get a different impression of Cologne if you want then.

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  4. Thank you for the information you provide about Cologne. 2 years, and I have lived in Cologne trip notes "here" I wrote.

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  5. Super geschrieben und wie recht Du hast!!

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