Exploring Cologne

Exploring Cologne

by Allie Smeeth
Stripes Europe

Dating back to 38 B.C., Cologne has been called home by various civilizations, including the Romans. Today, Cologne’s streets are filled with historical buildings, modern museums and beautiful gardens. Take a day trip or spend the weekend to explore the sites of this famous German city.

Cologne Cathedral
Since 1170, the Cologne Cathedral, or the Dom, has been a focal point of the city. This Roman Catholic church was built in the traditional Gothic style. The interior is adored with multiple stained-glass window panes, a marvelous dome ceiling, and a high altar covered in gold carvings. Trek up 533 steps to the south tower for picturesque views of the town.

St. Gereon’s Basilica
Named after Roman officer St. Gereon, this majestic basilica is home to an important collection of artifacts. From its beautiful stone dome entrance, to the carefully etched windows aligning the two towers and circular apse, this chapel is one of the city’s most remarkable stops. Once you have explored outside the basilica, venture into the church to look at the stained-glass windows and statues.

Cologne’s city hall
Cologne’s city hall spans various architectural periods and is situated near popular restaurants and museums. The hall is adorned with plaques displaying Roman rulers, various historic etches of soldiers in battle, and a spectacular Gothic tower. Admire the monument “Wolke” by Hann Trier, the mayor’s administration offices, the 14th century Saalbau and post-WWII Piazzetta. Afterward, take a walk through the town’s alleys, and stop at a café for coffee or tea and cake.

Explore the former residence of the Imperial Governor of Cologne, home to remains of the Roman palace, including multiple marble inscriptions, eye-catching mosaics and colorful wall paintings. The Praetorium’s antiquities illustrate Rome’s impact on Cologne.

Botanical Gardens Flora
After a long day of sightseeing, unwind with a walk through one of Cologne’s charming gardens. Situated in the northern part of the city, the Botanical Garden Flora features a variety of flowers, trees and stunning fountains, all of which welcome guests to the garden’s greenhouse.

Cologne Triangle
Get an aerial view of the city by stopping at the Cologne Triangle. This 339-foot-tall structure provides guests a chance to experience the city from above. The panoramic platform is a great place to take family photos, and diagrams on the platform pinpoint Cologne’s sites to help you navigate the city.

Museum of Chocolate
Feast your eyes on one of the world’s most spectacular treats — chocolate — at Cologne’s Chocolate Museum. This family-friendly destination covers the history and process of making the delicious confection. Plus, visitors can try chocolates at the chocolate fountain and store. After your visit, head over to the museum café, which sells an assortment of European chocolates.

Museum Ludwig
Since 1976, Museum Ludwig has housed some of Cologne’s most beautiful modern art and a stunning photography collection. Here, you can see August Macke’s mysterious “Woman in a Green Jacket,” Jörg Immendorff’s “Café Deutschland I,” Gilbert & George’s lively “Drunk with God,” and works by Picasso, Pollock and Warhol.

To learn more about Cologne, visit www.colognetourism.com

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