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Guide to the sightseehing of the City of Cologne

Our website offers a selection of information on those sights of Cologne which you really should see. Furthermore, there is a brief survey of the history of our city. Get an overview of the most important sights in an individual guided tour "Cologne from A to Z" in cooperation with our partner Tour Agentur.
Photo: © Tour Agentur Photo: © Jens Korte / Köln Tourismus GmbH

Historic Town Hall Gürzenich Cathedral of Cologne The twelve Romanesque churches St. Kunibert St. Maria im Kapitol Groß St. Martin Ubiermonument & the Roman past of Cologne Fortress ring of Cologne Historic Old Town & Fish Market Severin & Südstadt Cologne Water Armoury History of the City of Cologne

Historic Town Hall

Historic Town Hall

Cologne City Hall consists of three separate buildings from the 14 th, 15 th and 16 th century. In ca. 1330 the people of Cologne began to build the “Long Hall”, which now is called the “Hall of the Hanseatic League”. In this hall, the member cities of the Hanseatic League assembled. The tower was built within seven years between 1407 and 1414. When it was complete it reached a height of 61 m and was higher than the southern spire of the Cathedral, then still incomplete (59 m). In 1569, Wilhelm Vernukken began with the construction of the splendid Renaissance porch. Buildings which were added later were destroyed in World War II. Underneath the adjoining “Spanish Building”, built in the 1950s, remains of the palace of the Roman governours, the Praetorium, were found. On the east side of the City Hall tower, a wood-carved head sticks out his tongue every full hour: “Platzjabbeck” is documented since the 15 th century. He was meant to demonstrate the city council’s pride and self-esteem to everyone. Photo: © Jens Korte / Köln Tourismus GmbH

Cologne Guide

Opening hours of the town hall:
• Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: 8am-4pm
• Tuesday 8am-6pm Friday 8am-12am
• Carillon at 9am 12am 3pm 6pm

• Rathausplatz 2 - 50667 Köln



Gürzenich Cologne

Gürzenich was and still ist Cologne’s most famous ballroom. In particular during carnival, events and celebrations take place here. Gürzenich was built between 1441 and 1447 on premises which belonged to a family coming from the village of Gürzenich. For centuries it was Germany’s largest ballroom. Due to its size, assemblies of the Imperial Diet (“Reichstag”) and of the nobility were held here until 1531. After destruction in World War II, Gürzenich was reconstructed.

The adjoining church of St.Alban remains a ruin and serves as memorial to the dead of World War II. With its statues of the “Weeping Parents” by the famous sculptor Käthe Kollwitz it represents the dark side of life with mourning, death and destruction – in contrast to Gürzenich standing for the bright side with dancing, music and celebration. Photo: engraving from J.P. Weyer - © Stadtmuseum

Cologne Guide

Opening hours:
• Can only be visited during an event.

• The Gürzenich is used for congresses and events. You can find information about room rental at

• Martinstraße 29-37 - 50667 Köln

The Cathedral of Cologne

Kölner Dom Köln

Why was Cologne Cathedral built? The Cathedral houses the shrine in which the relics of the three magi –in Germany: the three holy kings- are being kept. These relics were discovered by St. Helen, mother of the Roman emperor Constantine, at the beginning of the 4 th century near Bethlehem. They were brought to Constantinople and later were transferred to Milan. When Milan was conquered in the 12 th century, the German emperor Frederick I. “Barbarossa”, gave them to his chancellor, the Cologne archbishop Reynald of Dassel as an acknowledgement for his support in the campaign against Milan. These relics were the most valuable part of the booty.

50 years later, a precious golden shrine for the relics was complete. Now the people of Cologne wanted a more representative church to display the shrine in. By and by, the old Cathedral from the Carolingian Age was demolished, and in 1248 the foundation stone for the new Cathedral in a French Gothic style was laid.

More than 300 years later, in 1560, the building was abandoned only partially finished and covered by a temporary roof. It was not until the age of Romanticism in the 19 th century that the Middle Age experienced a revival and a neo-Gothic style came into fashion. The brothers Boisserée discovered the long lost construction plans, and so the completion of the Cathedral could be started. In 1880, the Cathedral officially was inaugurated.

Cologne Cathedral is one of the largest Gothic churches in the world. Admire more than 10 000 square meters (12 000 square yards) of stained glass windows out of eight centuries: the oldest (“Elder Bible Window”) dating back to 1260, the most recent from 2007 (“Gerhard-Richter-Window”) with more than 10 000 motley squares on more than 100 square meters. Photo: © Köln Tourist

Cologne Guide

Opening hours:
• November to April: 6am-7:30pm / May to October: 6am-9pm
Attention - During masses and other ceremonies the cathedral is completely or partially closed.
• On the page of the Cologne Cathedral you will find all times day by day :
Ascent to the tower : Daily 9am-4pm (Nov-Feb) 5pm (March April-October) 6pm (Summer)
The bell tower is closed every Sunday and during the holidays until 12:30pm.
The entrance to the tower is outside the cathedral, to the right of the main entrance.

Admission fees:
• Free entrance to the cathedral - 6 € for the visit of the treasury (8 € with the tower)
• Ascent to the tower: 5 € - There are families and reduced prices

Guided tour Cologne Cathedral Guided tour of the Cologne Cathedral:
Tour agency organizes individual guided tours through the cathedral (duration 1 h) or in connection with a city tour "Cologne from A to Z" (duration 2,5 h) - All information on Tour-Agentur

The twelve Romanesque churches


In the Middle Age it was said of Cologne to have as many churches as there are days in a year, and in fact the existence of at least 200 churches and chapels is verifiable. Since the churches housed valuable relics, Cologne was one of Europe’s most important centres of pilgrimage, next to Rome and Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Therefore, Cologne was called “Holy Cologne”. In the age of reformation, Cologne remained a catholic city. Under Napoleon, in the secularization, about 150 churches were demolished. Cologne citizens who realized the value of the church treasures collected them, for instance Ferdinand Franz Wallraf, Alexander Schnütgen or the brothers Boisserée. Some of them gave their collections to the City of Cologne (see Wallraf-Richartz Museum; Museum Schnütgen). Photo: St Pantaleon © Udo Haake / Köln Tourismus GmbH

Jewels of extraordinary beauty are the remaining twelve Romanesque churches which are spread all over the medieval city, each of which has its own character and its special features.

Die zwölf romanische Kirchen von Köln:
- St. Andrew’s: fFormer men’s collegiate. Church built in the 13 th century, choir 15 th century in the Gothic style. Spectacular modern stained glass windows by Markus Lüpertz. Tomb of 13 th century universal scholar Albertus Magnus.
- St. Apostles: Former men’s collegiate. Church built in the 12 th and 13 th centuries. Exceptional trefoil choir, considered the most beautiful example of this architectural feature typical for the “Rhenish Romanesque”. Spectacular modern frescoes by Hermann Gottfried. Every sunday classical concerts.
- St. Cecilia’s: Originally a ladies’ collegiate, later a monastery. Built in the middle 12 th century, this church today houses the Schnütgen Museum.
- St. George’s: Former men’s collegiate. Inaugurated 1067, remodelled in the 12 th century. Remarkable modern stained glass windows from 1930.
- St. Gereon’s: Former men’s collegiate. The oldest parts go back to a Roman memorial building (4th century) still visible in today’s structure. Enlarged in 1067 – 1069 by a choir and transformed into a spectacular decagonous dome in 1219 – 1227: one of Europe’s largest dome constructions of the Middle Age. Modern stained glass windows byGeorg Meistermann and Wilhelm Buschulte.
- St. Martin’s: former Benedictine Abbey, built in the 12 th and early 13 th century, spectacular combination of trefoil choir and tower, Roman excavations. This church is part of a monastery again and therefore can be visited on weekdays (except mondays) only in the morning and only on Sundays in the afternoon. The excavations are accessible from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00.
- St. Mary’s Lyskirchen: Only remaining parish church from the Romanesque period, built in the 13 th century, former sailor’s and fisher’s church. Complete cycle of frescoes from the 13 th century.
- St.Mary’s in the Capitol:: Former ladies’ collegiate, founded by Plectrude (, wife of Pepin of Herstal, Mayor of the Palace to the Merovingian kings. The name “in the Capitol” reminds of the Roman Capitol temple dedicated to Jupiter, Juno an Minerva, which preceded the church in this place. Today’s church was built in the 11 th century under Abbess Ida, grand daughter of Emperor Otto II. and Empress Theophanu (see St. Pantaleon’s) and inaugurated in 1065. Trefoil choir after the model of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Under the choir, second largest crypt of any German church. Extraordinary works of art: carved wooden doors with scenes from the New Testament (11 th century); tombstone of Plectrude; expressive Plague Crucifix (14 th century).
- St. Kunibert: frühere Herren-Stiftskirche, letzte fertig gestellte romanische Kirche in Köln, geweiht im Jahr 1247; beherbergt die ältesten romanischen Glasfenster in Köln aus der Mitte des 13. Jh.
- St. Pantaleon’s: former Benedictine Abbey, church inaugurated in 980. Tombs of Archbishop and Imperial Chancellor Bruno (d.965), brother of Emperor Otto I., and of Byzantine princess and later German empress Theophanu (d.991).
- St. Severin’s: former men’s collegiate. Church dates back to a small church (4th century) on a Roman-Frankish cemetery, remains of which can be visited under the church. Today’s structure inaugurated 1237 and enlarged and remodelled in the 14 and 15th centuries in the Gothic style.
- St. Ursula’s: former ladies’ collegiate. Centre of the Cologne relic cult. Church built in the 12th century, choir 13th century in the Gothic style. “Golden Chamber”, unique document of baroque relic cult.

Cologne Guide

Websites about the different churches:
All churches are usually open, but at very different times. Visit the website of the church of your choice or the website of the Förderverein Romanische Kirchen Köln e.V.
St. Andreas - Web   •   St. Pantaleon - Web  •   St. Aposteln - Web  •   St. Ursula - Web   •   St. Gereon - Web   •   St. Maria im Kapitol - Web
St. Georg - Web   •   St. Cäcilien - Web   •   Gross St. Martin - Web   •   St. Maria in Lyskirchen - Web   •   St. Kunibert - Web   •   St. Severin - Web

Saint Kunibert

Sankt Kunibert church Cologne

The late Romanesque church is the last to be built in Cologne. It was consecrated between 1220 and 1260. The first consecration took place in 1247, one year before the laying of the foundation stone of the Gothic cathedral. The three-towered church replaced the older Clemeskirche, which Bishop Kunibert had built in the 7th century. In St. Kunibert the oldest Romanesque stained glass windows in Cologne from the middle of the 13th century are preserved.

Of the Gothic churches in Cologne, the Cathedral of Mary and St. Peter is the most famous and one of the largest churches in the world. Photo: © Udo Haake / Köln Tourismus GmbH

Cologne Guide

Opening hours:
• The Basilica is open every day from 10am to 6pm for prayer and sightseeing.

• Kunibertsklostergasse 2 - 50668 Köln


Church Sankt Maria im Kapitol köln

This church was built in the 11th century under Abbess Ida, granddaughter of Empress Theophanu, who rests in the Romanesque church of St. Pantaleon. Abbess Ida was the first in Germany to build a cloverleaf choir, modelled on the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Under the choir, Abbess Ida had the second largest German crypt built. For the consecration of the church two carved wooden door wings were given to her in 1064. Today these are the oldest wooden doors in Germany. Already in the 8th century, the wife of the house mistress Pipin von Heristahl, Plektrudis, built a church above the Roman Kopitol temple for the highest Roman gods Juno and Minerva. Photo: © Jens Korte / Köln Tourismus GmbH

Cologne Guide

Opening hours:
• Normally: Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm Sunday 1-6pm

• Marienplatz 17-19 - 50676 Köln

Groß Sankt Martin

Romanesque Church Großer St. Martin Cologne

The Great Saint Martin is like the church of St. Kunibert with a view of the Rhine and lies on the banks of the river, at the foot of the fish market and south of the cathedral. The church, consecrated in 1172, was built on a Roman structure that stood on an island on the Rhine at the beginning of Cologne's history. Since the patron saint of this church is Saint Martin of Tours (the most popular saint of the Frankish Empire), it is assumed that a first church existed here in an earlier time among the Franks. It is documented that the first monastery dedicated to Saint Martin came from Brunon (953-965), the first archbishop of the archbishop principality. After a fire and reconstruction in the 13th century, the present church was consecrated in 1257, although some parts were completed much earlier.

Hardly damaged during the war, the church was rebuilt and restored. Many original objects and sculptures were lost. Today you can admire some rare pieces from the 12th and 15th centuries, including the crucifixion group and the burial group from the late 15th century.

Since 2009, Groß St. Martin has been a monastery church again after more than 200 years. The church was handed over by Archbishop Joachim Cardinal Meisner of Cologne to the Benedictine community of the Fraternité de Jérusalem from Paris. They founded a new branch of their order, initially with twelve brothers and sisters. The Basilica is open from the Laudes in the morning to the Vespers and to the divine service in the evening. Photo: © Tour-Agentur"

Cologne Guide

Opening hours:
• Tuesday-Friday 9:30am-7:30pm- Weekend 10am-7:30pm
In August every day 2-6pm - On the link below you will find the prayer times and services.

• An Groß St. Martin 9 - 50667 Köln

Ubiermonument & the Roman past of Cologne

Mikwe Ubiermonument roman cologne

In the phase of reconstruction after World War II, archaeologists discovered much of the Roman colony CCAA (Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium). This was the name Cologne received in 50 AD along with its city charter. Before, here was a Ubian settlement, the “Oppidum Ubiorum”. The Ubians were a Germanic tribe which originally had settled on the other bank of the river and was transferred here in ca. 50 BC. In the 1950s, archaeologists discovered remains of the Roman governor’s palace underneath the “Spanish Building” next to City Hall: the Praetorium. Cologne was capital city of the Roman province of Lower Germania between the 1 st and 5 th centuries. In this time the palace of the emperors’ governors was enlarged and reconstructed at least four times.

Further remains are still to be excavated in a new Archaeological Zone. In connection with a visit to the Praetorium, 140 meters of a Roman sewer channel can also be visited. In the new archaeological zone, remains of the former Jewish quarter are being excavated, including remains of one of Germany’s oldest synagogues from the 8 th or 10 th century and a Mikvah (one of the oldest surviving in Germany). Photo: © Michael van den Bogaard

Cologne Guide

Opening hours:
• Currently (2020), the Praetorium is closed until the opening of the MiQua archaeological zone. We will keep you up to date.

• Kleine Budengasse 1, 50667 Köln - archaeological zone

Website: -

Cologne Underworld Underworld Tour:
Tour-Agentur offers guided tours in English through the archaeological zone and the Roman past of Cologne. - Information & booking

The fortress ring of Cologne

Cologne gate fortress Ulrepforte

Since Cologne was granted city rights in 50 AD, the citizens were soon allowed to start building a city wall. The foundations of the approximately four-kilometre-long city wall are still very well preserved as archaeological monuments, as are some remains of the visible defensive wall.

In the 12th century, the medieval city had grown far beyond the one-square-kilometre once Roman city, so a new city wall was built in a semicircle. It was the longest north of the Alps at that time. If you walk along the approximately eight-kilometre-long ring road, you can discover not only nightlife and shopping areas, but also remains of the medieval city fortifications. This begins in the south with the Bayenturm, soon followed by the former private mill on the city wall, the Bottmühle. At Chlodwigplatz lies the southern main gate of the medieval city fortifications, the Severinstor. Other parts of the medieval city wall with watchtowers are preserved at Sachsenring, as well as at Hansaring in the northwest. Three of the original twelve city gates have survived. The Severin Gate in the north, its counterpart in the north with the Eigelstein Gate and in the west on Aachenerstrasse with Rudolfplatz the Hahnentor.

When the city was bursting at the seams by industrialisation in the 19th century, the disturbing medieval city wall was demolished. Under the new Prussian rulers, a new defensive ring (about 42 km long) had been built in the meantime. Some of these Prussian forts are still preserved, such as Fort I in the south near the Old University and Fort X in the Agnesviertel, near the Higher Regional Court. Photo: © Jens Korte / Köln Tourismus GmbH

Historic Old Town & Fish Market

Historic Old Town Fischermarkt cologne

Where in Roman times an island was situated in the river in front of the city, today Cologne’s Old Town extends between the Old Market with the historic City Hall and the old Fish Market. Its centre is the Romanesque church of St. Martin-the-Great. The Old Town was reconstructed after World War II in a traditional style, but some of the historic houses with their narrow facades still remain. The names of the streets and alleys of the Old Town give us an idea what kind of people went about their business here in the Middle Age: Buttermarkt (Butter Market), Fischmarkt (Fish Market), Salzgasse (Salt Alley). This was the merchants’ quarter close to the river. Photo: © Jens Korte / Köln Tourismus GmbH

Cologne Guide

Tourist information: Directly at the cathedral - Kardinal-Höffner-Platz 1 - 50667 Cologne

• we recommend you the following museums : Museum Wallraf, Roman-Germanic Museum and Museum Ludwig.
• Don't forget to stop to enjoy the famous Kölsch beer in a small 0.2 dl glass. In the tradition, without asking you, you will receive a new one as soon as it has been drunk. On our restaurant page we present you the best Kölsch breweries.

Severin & Südstadt

district Severin Cologne

Located in the southern part of the Old Town (Old Town-South), Vringsveedel (in Kölsch) is a district where you can experience the true Kölsch flair of the city away from the tourist attractions. In the shopping street of Severinstraße is the St. Severin Church, one of the twelve Romanesque basilicas in Cologne with parts from the 9th to 15th centuries. The district has one of Cologne's four gates, the Severinstorburg (13th). With the "longest Desch vun Kölle", one of the largest street festivals in Germany takes place every year around mid-September. Photo: © Tour-Agentur

Cologne Guide

• On Tuesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. the organic market awaits you at Severinskirchplatz.
Severinsstraße is considered the northernmost Italian city in Cologne!
Bürgerhaus Stollwerck : former chocolate factory, today a cultural institution.

Vringsveedel Tour agentur Guided Tour in Vringsveedel & Südstadt
The guided tour offered by Tour-Agentur through the Vringsveedel enables you to experience Cologne from the perspective of its inhabitants. Booking

The guided tours of Cologne with Tour-Agentur

Guided tour Cologne

Thematic or tailor-made guided tours with your private guide

A guided tour in English of Cologne is the best way to fully understand and appreciate a city like Cologne with its long and exciting history and many monuments, the formula with a private guide has many advantages; at your pace, visits and personalized advice.

Ilona Priebe and a team of professional and passionate guides offer you personalized and private guided tours of Cologne as well as thematic guided tours. For groups and travel agencies, they offer various services and guided tours adapted to your needs.

Information here and booking your guided tour :

By e-mail to or +49 (0)221 93 272 63

The Cologne Water

eau water cologne house 4711

In 1709, the Italian Johann Maria Farina came to Cologne and developed an entirely new distillation process by which volatile scents could be dissolved. Since people believed that water was harmful to their health, they hardly ever washed and preferred perfumes. His shockingly expensive scent of “a springtime in Italy” opened Farina the doors to Europe’s high aristocracy. One small bottle of his “Eau de Cologne” cost the equivalent of 10 000 Euro in our money, so the market quickly was flooded with cheaper imitations.

Farina’s most persistent competitor, Wilhelm Mülhens tried to outsmart him by calling his product “Farina at the Post Station”. When he was forbidden to call his perfume “Farina”, he named it after his house number in the time of French occupation: 4711.

In the traditional Farina house on Gülichplatz, a Fragrance Museum will take you on a journey though the history of perfume manufacturing in Cologne. You will follow the tracks of Johann Maria Farina who created Europe’s oldest surviving company logo. Photo: © Mäurer & Wirtz

Cologne Guide

• Das Haus Farina is open Monday-Saturday 10am-7pm, Sunday 11am-5pm. Admission 5 € (Museum) - Obenmarspforten 21, 50667 Köln
• Das Dufthaus 4711: Monday-Friday 9:30am-6:30pm, Saturday 9:30am-6pm - Glockengasse 4, 50667 Köln

Armoury of Cologne

Armoury cologne museum

The Cologne arsenal was built in the late 16th century to store the Cologne armoury. Today, it houses the Cologne Municipal Museum which makes our city’s history from the Middle Age until today come alive. A model presents the entire city in the 16 th century with the incomplete Cathedral and its many churches. The city’s economic life and the people’s everyday life are outlined, as well as the age of industrialization in the 19 th century. Photographs document how profoundly Cologne was destroyed in World War II. The life style of the post-war period is reflected in typical articles of the 1950s.

The museum is currently (2020) under renovation and is only partially open for temporary exhibitions. Photo : © / Köln Tourismus GmbH
• Zeughausstraße 1–3, 50667 Köln

Also on LatLon-Cologne

The other pages for your holiday in Cologne :
The Agenda 2023 for Cologne and Culture
All museums in Cologne
The city tours in Cologne with Tour-Agentur
Our recommendations for hotels and restaurants
Useful information and the city of Cologne in figures

The History of the City of Cologne

Visites guidées Cologne

To summarize the history of a city is already a challenge for most cities. This is all the more true for the 2000 year history of the city of Cologne. For more detailed information, please refer to the encyclopedia Wikipedia. Photo : © Christina Kohnen

City tours with Tour-Agentur
In order to grasp the comprehensive economic and cultural history of the city of Cologne in its entirety and to understand the overarching interrelationships, a city tour with a certified city guide is recommended.

History of the City of Cologne :
Cologne’s 2000 years of history begin in 57 AD, when Julius Caesar, during the Gallic Wars, conquered the territories on the left bank of the River Rhine. The Rhine formed the border between the Roman Empire on the western bank and the Germanic area on the eastern bank. In 50 AD, Cologne received its city charter and the name “Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium” (CCAA). In the late 1 st century, Cologne was made capital of the Roman province Lower Germania. In the mid-5 th century, it was conquered by the Franks.

From the 10 th to the 16 th century, Cologne developed into Germany’s largest and wealthiest city. A population of ca. 40 000 lived on an area of 4 square kilometres (ca. 2, 5 sq. mi.). It was said of Cologne that it had as many churches as there are days in a year, and the people of Cologne wanted to cap this by building what was meant to be the largest church in the world. In 1248, the foundation stone to the Cathedral was laid, but 300 years later, 1560, the construction works were discontinued and the building was abandoned only partially finished.

The colonization of America made travel routes move further towards the Atlantic Ocean and Cologne lost its economic power. In 1794, French troops occupied Cologne and modern times found their way to Cologne. The Vienna Congress allotted the Rhineland to Prussia. In the age of industrialization, Cologne developed into one of Germany’s leading economic centres. In World War II, the city was almost completely destroyed. The reconstruction proceeded rapidly and without much urban planning. Today, Cologne is Germany’s fourth largest city, with a population of ca. 1 million on an area of 405 square kilometres (ca. 250 sq. mi.)

Pre-Roman Period : The earliest traces of settlement in the Cologne region date back to the Palaeolithic age. In ca. 4500 BC, the mild climate and the fertile soil attracted tillers from the Danube region. There also are clues to settlements of the Linear Pottery culture in the late 5 th and early 4 th millennium BC.

Roman Period : The Roman Period in Cologne lasted for about 500 years, from the 1 st century BC until the mid-5 th century AD. In ca. 57 BC, Julius Caesar conquered Gaul and extended the borders of the Roman Empire to the River Rhine. The Eburonian tribe, which settled in the area between the rivers Rhine and Meuse and the Ardennes, was extinguished. The Romans then resettled the Ubian tribe, originally located on the eastern bank of the Rhine, to the former Eburonian area. The Ubians collaborated with the Romans, which earned them the other Germanic tribes’ hostility. The first nucleus of population in Cologne was called “Oppidum Ubiorum” (Ubian Settlement). A remainder of this earliest period of Cologne urban history is the so-called Ubian Monument, Germany’s second-eldest stonemasonry construction, dating back to the year 5 or 6 AD. Between 9 BC and 9 AD, the Roman commanders Drusus, Tiberius and Varus frequently attempted to extend the Roman Empire to the eastern bank of the Rhine. However, in 9 AD they suffered a disastrous defeat in the “Clades Variana” (“Varian Disaster”) in the Teutoburg Forest. The Roman army lost two entire legions, ca. 10 000 – 20 000 soldiers. It was one of the greatest catastrophes in Roman history.

CCAA (50 AD – 454 AD) : In 50 AD, Cologne received its city charter. It is one of Germany’s oldest cities. With its status as “colonia”, Cologne had almost as many privileges as the city of Rome itself. Henceforth, the city was called “Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium” (CCAA): “City of Roman law” (colonia), “founded under Emperor Claudius” (Claudia), “with the altar” (Ara) “of the Agrippinensians” (Agrippinensium). The citizens called themselves “Agrippinensians” in honour of Empress Agrippina the Younger. Born in Cologne, she was a daughter of General Germanicus and a granddaughter of Emperor Augustus. In 50 AD, she married (in third marriage) Emperor Claudius, her uncle. It was she who requested from the Emperor to give her birthplace the status of a colonia: a city of Roman law. In the whole Roman Empire there were ca. 200 cities holding this distinguished legal status. However, no other referred to a woman in its name. Events of global importance took place in Roman Cologne. In 69 AD, during the confusion following the death of Emperor Nero, General Vitellius was proclaimed Emperor here in CCAA. His reign, however, lasted for less than a year before he was overthrown again by his successor, Emperor Vespasian. It was also in CCAA that Governor Trajan, in 98 AD, was informed by his kinsman Hadrian that his adoptive father, Emperor Nerva, had died in Rome and that he now was Emperor. Trajan remained in CCAA for some months and reigned the Empire from here. Remainders of his palace can be visited in the Praetorium. In 89 AD, Cologne became capital of the Roman province of Germania Inferior ( Lower Germania). With an area of about one square kilometre (ca. 0, 6 sq. mi.) and a population of 15 000 – 20 000, it was a quite large city. Remainders of some of its building still can be seen: city walls and a city gate, the Praetorium, remainders of the aqueduct, a sewer channel and remains of a bridge which was built under Emperor Constantine in the 4 th century. As early as the 4 th century, the existence of a Christian bishop, Maternus, is verifiable. Since the second half of the 4 th century, CCAA was under frequent attack of the Franks. In 454 AD the Franks eventually conquered the city and the Roman Period ended.

Frankish and Carolingian Period (454 – 953) : In the Migration Period, Europe was constantly in motion and regions underwent permanent changes. Roman cities and Roman infrastructure fell into disrepair. However, the Franks made use of some of the Roman structure in Cologne, for instance, of the Praetorium, which they used as their royal residence. During the 6 th century, Cologne was under constant attack by several tribes. Permanent dispute in the Merovingian Royal family caused their power to dwindle, while their Mayors of the Palace increasingly ran the affairs of state. One of the most powerful of the Mayors of the Palace was Pepin of Herstal. His wife, Plectrude, founded a church in the former Roman Capitoline temple in Cologne, now the Romanesque church St.Mary’s in the Capitol. After Pepin’s death in 714, Plectrude tried to secure the power for her grandson. She was, however, challenged by Pepin’s illegitime son, Charles Martel, who took over power in 751 and relocated the Frankish royal court from Cologne to Aachen. Charles Martel’s grandson was to be one of the most outstanding emperors in European history: Charlemagne /748 – 814). In the Frankish period, the power of the bishops of Cologne increased. One of the most important was Bishop Cunibert, who was buried in a church which later was called after him: today’s Romanesque church of St.Cunibert’s. In the late 8th century (ca.795), Charlemagne appointed Cologne an archbishop’s see. The Frankish cathedral was replaced by a Carolingian building.

Cologne in the High and Late Middle Age : In 953, Emperor Otto I. appointed his brother Bruno archbishop of Cologne and Duke of Lotharingia. Henceforth, the Cologne archbishops were not only the spiritual leaders of the Church of Cologne, but also powerful worldly lords, and secular as well as ecclesiastical rulers of the city. Under Bruno, Cologne, which had suffered a drastic decline since the Romans had left, once again became an important political, spiritual and artistic centre. In 1164, after his conquest of the renegade city of Milan, Emperor Frederick I “Barbarossa” gave his chancellor, the Cologne archbishop Reynald of Dassel the relics of the three holy kings. Their mortal remains had been retrieved by St. Helen, mother of Emperor Constantine, in the Holy Land in the 4 th century and later been brought to Milan. After the transfer of these most important relics in Christianity to Cologne, the goldsmith Nicholas of Verdun was commissioned to create a golden shrine for them. It was complete after ca. 50 years. Then, in 1248, the foundation stone was laid for what was meant to be a worthy sepulchre for the three holy kings: the Gothic Cathedral of St. Peter’s and Mary’s. Cologne’s many and famous relics attracted more and more pilgrims, and so it came to be one of the most important centres of pilgrimage in Europe, next to Rome and the Spanish Santiago de Compostela. Priests, merchants and craftsmen sought to make a living in “Holy Cologne”. In the late 12th century, the people of Cologne enlarged the city’s territory and built a new city wall which was eight kilometres (ca. 5 miles) long and the longest city fortification north of the Alps. This wall protected Cologne for the next 700 years. In 1259, Archbishop Conrad of Hochstaden granted the people of Cologne the “Staple Privilege”. All goods which were transported along the Rhine had to be displayed for sale for three days, with a pre-emption for the Cologne merchants. Furthermore, charges were raised on the storing of the goods. This privilege made Cologne one of the wealthiest cities in Germany, and the local merchants always had first-class quality wares available. Their economic success made the Cologne citizens increasingly self-confident. This lead to constant quarrels with the archbishops, who still were rulers over the city. It came to a showdown in 1288, when the Cologne citizens and the archbishop’s troops clashed in the battle of Worringen.

Cologne , the Imperial City (1288 – 1794) : The result of the battle of Worringen 1288 was that the citizens of Cologne stood on the winning side, whereas the archbishops had suffered a disastrous defeat. The Cologne citizens now could force the archbishop into disclaiming his worldly power over the city. The archbishop remained the spiritual leaders of the Cologne Church, but they were no longer permitted to reside in Cologne. They relocated their residence to Bonn. Cologne now was virtually an Imperial City, although this was confirmed not until 1472. In 1349, a plague epidemic broke out in Cologne, carrying off a large part of the population. In the night from 23 rd to 24 th of August 1349, the people of Cologne murdered the Cologne Jews and destroyed their quarter. The Jews returned to Cologne a few years later, since this centre of commerce offered them an economic base. In 1424, however, they were driven out of Cologne for good. In 1367, the cities of the Hanseatic League met in Cologne City Hall and formed a confederation against the Danish king Valdemar IV. In 1388, the citizens of Cologne founded the first civic university in Germany. All earlier universities on what then was German territory ( Prague, Vienna, Heidelberg) had been established by the Church or by a worldly ruler. Cologne University existed until 1798. Then it was closed by the French. In 1396, the citizens of Cologne enacted a municipal constitution: the “Verbundbrief” (Letter of Alliance). Merchants and craftsmen (but no priests!) organized “Gaffeln” (political representations), and 49 members of the city council and two mayors ruled the city. The “Verbundbrief” remained operative until Cologne was occupied by the French in 1794. The Cologne craftsmen were organized in craftsmen’s guilds. There also were four craftswomen’s guilds: threadmakers, silk makers, silk spinners and gold spinners. Women organized in these guilds could acquire a master craftsman’s diploma and conduct a business independently. Apart from Cologne, only Paris and Zurich recognized craftswomen’s guilds. However, although women could be active economically, politically they were represented by men in the city council. In the 13 th and 14 th centuries, Cologne had a population of ca. 40 000. It was the largest city in Germany by far. It also was a metropolis of arts. Many works can be admired in the Wallraf Richartz Museum and the Schnütgen Museum. One of the most important painters was Stefan Lochner (d.1451). With the colonization of the American continent, the international trade routes changed. Cities with seaports ( Antwerp, Amsterdam, Hamburg) took over and Cologne lost its economic power. In 1560, the construction works on the Cathedral were discontinued and the building was abandoned only partially finished. In the early 18 th century, the Italian Johann Maria Farina settled in Cologne and developed a new perfume, which he called “Eau de Cologne”. Since “Eau de Cologne” was so shockingly expensive, the market was flooded with cheap imitations, and so Cologne came to be a centre of perfume production.

French Period (1794 – 1814) : In 1794, the French revolutionary troops occupied Cologne. The city council was dissolved, the French civil code was introduced and Cologne was governed according to the French municipal constitution. The French introduced freedom of trade, and Jews and Protestants could acquire citizenship. Religious convents, monasteries and collegiates were dissolved, church property was taken into public ownership and ca. 150 churches and chapels were demolished. Collectors as Ferdinand Franz Wallraf and Alexander Schnütgen collected works of religious art and later gave their collections to the City of Cologne.Since 1810, funerals no longer were performed within the city walls, but outside on the new main cemetery Melaten. In 1814, the French soldiers left the city and gave way to the oncoming Prussian troops.

Prussian Period (1814 – 1918) : After World War I, Lord Mayor Adenauer boosted Cologne’s economic power by new industrial locations. He was responsible for the establishment of the Cologne trade fair and the Ford works- He also initiated the two Cologne Green Belts (public parks), the re-opening of the university and the construction of the soccer stadium. After Adolf Hitler’s Machtergreifung (seizure of power) in 1933, Lord Mayor Adenauer was removed from office. In the November pogroms of 1938, synagogues and other Jewish instituitions were destroyed. The National Socialist regime established a concentration camp on the premises of the Cologne trade fair, which was an outpost of the infamous Buchenwald. From 1940, Sinti, Roma, Jews and oppositionists were incarcerated here before they were deported to other concentration camps. Konrad Adenauer also was detained here, but was able to escape and go into hiding. In course of World War II, lacking work force was replaced by Polish and Russian forced labourers. From May 1940, Cologne underwent air raids. In May 1942 the city was badly damaged by the British Royal Air Force in the “Operation Millennium”. A carpet bombing in March 1945 laid 95 percent of the city centre in wrack and ruin. The Cathedral was hit 14 times, but endured the bombing comparatively well. After the end of World War II, everyday life returned to the destroyed city. In October 1945, the famous Millowitsch theatre started to perform again and in December 1945 the university was re-opened. The city was reconstructed rapidly, but only the most important historic buildings were reconstruction in their old shape, such as the twelve Romanesque churches, City Hall and Gürzenich. Today, Cologne is the economic centre in the West of Germany. The Ford works and the trade fair still are important employers. Furthermore, Cologne has established itself as an important media centre with Europe’s largest broadcasting company WDR (West German Broadcasting Company) and with Germany’s largest private TV channel RTL. Cologne is the location of a state university, a university of applied sciences, a sports university and a music university. Ca. 90 000 students make it one of Germany’s largest university cities. Cologne has a population of one million on an area of 405 square kilometres (ca. 250 sq. mi.). It is Germany’s fourth largest city.