The Gothic cathedral in Cologne is not just the most popular attraction in the city, but the most visited landmark in the whole of Germany. Anybody arriving via the Hauptbahnhof will immediately notice the impressive structure as they walk out of the station and look to the left. Around six million visitors pass through the doors every year, many of which decide to climb the narrow steps up the south tower. This, along with the north tower, has become an iconic sight along the Cologne skyline and features on many souvenirs and postcards.
The cornerstone of the cathedral was laid in 1248, but it would be more than 600 years before it was completed, in 1880. The shrine inside is said to hold the remains of the Three Wise Men, meaning that many of the people travelling to Cologne do so on an important pilgrimage. Other draws include the beautiful stained glass windows, the largest free-standing bell in the world, and the chance to see one of the purest examples of Gothic architecture. The latter is the reason why UNESCO declared the cathedral a World Heritage Site in 1996.
© Fred. Olsen Travel.
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