Captivating Cologne

Captivating Cologne

by Jessica Zen 
Stripes Europe

When the colder weather moves in and the clouds seem to hang around longer than necessary, it’s time to look for indoor activities. Cologne, Germany offers a plethora of churches, museums and various other things to do when you can’t wander around aimlessly outside. Cologne offers a delight for all of your senses - see the incredible architecture, smell the incredible fragrances, taste the delectable chocolate, touch the ancient religious sites and hear the city buzz around you. 

Perhaps one of the most famous draws to the city is the Cologne Cathedral. Construction on this masterpiece started in 1248 but wasn’t completed until 1880. Various builders had a chance to sculpt this incredible religious structure into the magnificent piece of history that it is today. The Gothic cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the tallest twin-spired church in the world. Inside you’ll find a stunning High Altar, the Shrine of the Three Kings, a crucifix from the 10th century and stunning stained glass windows. This is a must-see when in Cologne! 

If you love old churches, be sure to visit St. Gereon’s Basilica as well. It is one of 12 Romanesque style churches in Cologne. Construction on this minor basilica is interesting, as it features a decagonal oval dome and the integration of ancient Roman walls into the newer structure. Check out the medieval mosaics, murals and ancient relics while you are there. 

Once you’ve had your fill of religious structures, get ready for a whole slew of museums. Start at the tastiest museum around, the Chocolate Museum. It’s close to the cathedral and Old Town, so you’ll likely already be in the area. Tour nine exhibitions and learn about the history of this delicious treat. You’ll begin your journey at a large model cocoa tree and journey with the cocoa until it is turned into rich chocolate. End your tour at the cafe and enjoy some chocolate cake, hot chocolate, chocolate fondue and other tasty treats. 

Since you’ve satisfied your sweet tooth, get ready for your nose to be delighted with incredible scents at The Fragrance Museum. Starting with the Rococo Era, you’ll learn about three centuries of fragrance and focus on the Eau de Cologne. Get to know Johann Maria Farina, who founded the fragrance factory in 1709 and had an impeccable sense of smell. Be sure to stop at the gift shop at the end to find the perfect scent to take with you! 

If you still haven’t gotten your fill of museums, check out the Ludwig Museum next. According to the museum’s website, it is home to “Eu­rope’s most ex­ten­sive col­lec­tion of Pop Art, the third-largest Pi­cas­so col­lec­tion in the world, one of the most im­por­tant col­lec­tions of Ger­man Ex­pres­sion­ism, out­s­tand­ing works from the Rus­sian avant-garde, and an ex­cel­lent col­lec­tion on the his­to­ry of pho­tog­ra­phy.” The range of works is sure to captivate art aficionados. 

Once you’ve experienced Cologne from the ground, consider going up a few stories for sweeping views of the city. The Köln Triangle has an elevator that will take you to the top, towering at 338 feet. Admire the city center and the incredible cathedral below you. For the best views, go up at sunset and watch as the city transforms before your very eyes with the orange hues of the fading sun. 

These attractions are just the tip of the iceberg in Cologne. Explore this magnificent city for yourself and see the amazing sites. You just might need more than a weekend to experience everything Cologne has to offer!

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