I spent my study abroad semester in the city of Cologne, Germany. The city is primarily known for one structure, the epic sized Gothic styled cathedral. Almost every piece of tourist memorabilia in the city revolves around the Dom because of how it has come to symbolize the city.
Here is a list of interesting facts about the Dom to help understand why this Cathedral has become central to the city of Cologne.
1. The Cathedral is rumored to hold the bones of the “Three Wise Men” (That’s why there are three crowns on the Cologne city crest.)
2. It is the tallest Gothic architecture building found in the world (It was also the tallest building from (1880-1884)
3. The construction of the building roughly started in 1248 and ended in 1880, taking 632 years to complete.
4. The Cathedral was one of the few standing buildings in Cologne after air raids during WW II. (Pilots were most likely told to avoid hitting the building for possible various reasons.)
5. The church is dedicated to St. Peter and St. Mary.
6. The original city entrance from Roman times can be found in from of the Cathedral. (There is also a museum dedicated to Roman items found right next to the Cathedral.)
Tip: There are many items outside for display and there is a mosaic that one can see from the outside as well.
7. In 2007 the South stained glass window was redone by Gerhard Ricter in a pixel styled arrangement.
8. The Cathedral is black because of pollution from the train station that is located next to it.
9. When Cologne was seized by France in 1794, the church was used as storage for grain.
10. There is hardly ever a time when the cathedral is not under construction. (It takes painstaking work to keep the cathedral structurally sound.)
11. Only Businesses that have a view of the cathedral are allowed to have Dom in their name.
12. There is a Christmas market that is held outside the Cathedral every year.
13. It is Germany’s most visited landmark, with an average of 20,000 visitors per day.
14. The UNESCO declared Cologne Cathedral a World Heritage Site in 1996.
15. On 5 January 2015, the cathedral switched off floodlights to protest a demonstration by PEGIDA. (PEGIDA is a hate group that is against Muslims in Europe)
In all honestly, The Dom Cathedral was my least favorite of the Cathdrals I saw during my trip. Cologne would not be the same without it and it’s skyline certainly would not be as grand. It is a sight to see on the outside and many interesting characters can be found around the Dom Cathedral as well. You can also take a trip to the top as well for a small fee.
Photo Credit: biberta (Morgue Files)