Cologne, Germany — The Cathedral
Cologne Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Germany’s largest cathedral, the world’s third tallest and over 765 years old
- A World Heritage Site since 1996; the Cologne Cathedral is the world’s purest and most complete example of a High Gothic cathedral, according to UNESCO
- Home to the renowned Shrine of the Three Magi
- Since 2007: The south transept window, which consists over 11,000 colorful squares of glass, was designed by the Cologne-based artist Gerhard Richter
- Germany’s most visited tourist attraction with 6.5 million visitors a year
Cologne Cathedral is, and will continue to be, the No. 1 tourist destination, not just of Cologne, but of Germany as a whole. Over six million people visit the UNESCO world heritage site every year. The imposing gothic cathedral houses the Shrine of the Three Kings, which makes it one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in Europe.
Since August 2007, the window designed by the Cologne artist Gerhard Richter – a shimmering play of hues and tones with squares of every color – has added to the cathedral’s attractions. Together with the cathedral, a “crown” of twelve Romanic churches represents “Holy Cologne”.
The place in which the cathedral is situated today has been since late roman times the place where the first Christians assembled in Cologne. Several churches- each one in turn larger than its predecessors- have been built on this site near the city walls. The first of these churches of which we know what it looked like was the Carolingian cathedral finished in 870. It had on each end of the nave a transept as well as a choir.The altar to the east was consecrated to Maria and the western altar was consecrated to St. Peter. Under the archbishop Bruno a northern and a southern side aisle were added to the nave. This cathedral stood until the 13th century and underwent only small changes during this time. The picture shows the cathedral as well as the St.Maria ad gradus church situated towards the east of the cathedral.
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