Cologne Cathedral, Cologne/Koln, Germany

Köln Cathedral

* Cologne, Germany *

Cologne Cathedral is a World Heritage Site and is one of the best known architectural monuments in Germany and Cologne’s most famous. It is 144.5 metres long, 86.5 m wide and its two towers are 157 m tall. The Cathedral (German: Kölner Dom, officially Hohe Domkirche St. Peter und Maria) is the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne, under the administration of the Roman Catholic Church and is renowned as a monument of Christianity, of Gothic architecture and of the faith and perseverance of the people of the city in which it stands. It is dedicated to Saint Peter and the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is one of the world’s largest churches and the largest Gothic Church in Northern Europe. It was the tallest structure in the world from 1880-1884 until the construction of the Washington Monument. It possessed the second-tallest church spires only surpassed by the single spire of Ulm Cathedral completed in 1890. It holds the position of the largest facade of any church in the world. The church construction began in 1248 and took over 600 years to construct when it was finalized in 1880. It was built atop a grain store that was succeeded by a Roman Temple built by Mercurius Augustus which was followed by 4th century Christian buildings including a square edifice that was commissioned by Maternus as the oldest cathedral at that time. In 1164 the Archbishop of Cologne, Rainald of Dassel acquired relics of the Three Kings which had been taken from Milan in Italy by the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick Barbarossa and were properly housed on this spot. The foundation stones laid on August 15, 1248. When construction stopped in the 1800’s, it wasn’t until 1842 that a civic effort raised two thirds of the enormous costs to resume work on the original design of the surviving medieval plans and drawings and the bells were installed in the 1870s. The completion in 1880 was celebrated as a national event, 632 years after construction began. The cathedral suffered fourteen hits by aerial bombs during World War II. It did not collapse, but stood tall in an otherwise flattened city. Believers said it was divine intervention. In June 1945, the cathedral was abused as a rifle range by American troops. The repairs to the building were completed in 1956. On August 25, 2007, the cathedral received a new stained glass in the south transept window. With 113 square metres of glass, the window was created by the German artist Gerhard Richter. In 1996, the cathedral was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List of culturally important sites. In 2004 it was placed on the “World Heritage in Danger” list due to nearby high-rise building and its visual impact upon the site, as the only Western site in danger. The cathedral was removed from the List of In Danger Sites in 2006, following the authorities’ decision to limit the heights of buildings constructed near and around the cathedral. The cathedral is open every day from 6.00am to 7.30pm; admission is free except for tower ascent and the treasury. Visitors can climb 509 steps of the spiral staircase to a viewing platform about 98 metres above the ground. [abstracted from Wikipedia and the Cathedral’s information pamphlets :]

Pictures/Exhibits around the Cathedral:

For some reason, all of the crucifixes with Jesus on them were covered on this date of April 1, 2009

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