Landmark Lovemarks: The Dom Cathedral

cologne dom cathedral

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.

Sources: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/292

Photo Credit: biberta (Morgue Files)

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Top Five Things I Learned While Studying Abroad

Top Five

I recently just finished my study abroad session in Germany. It was only a month, which of course is a very short time frame, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have enough time to learn anything. Here is a short list of five things that I learn while being abroad.

1.The Most Valuable Lessons are Found Outside the Classroom

There is much to learn inside the classroom, but the best lessons in life are often found in day to day life. Living in a different country can often be a challenging experience and can force you to think fast on your feet. Learning how to get out of bad situations, communicating with language barriers, and learning how to adapt to cultural norms are all examples of this.

2.Cultural Exchanges Are Okay

I think many student studying abroad don’t let the culture they are in make an impact on them. They tend to play it safe and only stick with things that are familiar to them. I have found it is important to do things that you normally don’t get to do at home and to push yourself outside your comfort zone. (Which doesn’t include getting drunk and extra obnoxious because you are in a foreign country) Trying new things and meeting new people allows you to learn more about yourself and gives you a broader outlook. Let the country and the people of that country leave an impact on you, but also share your culture as well.

3. Your Expectations Will Be Shattered 

For me I had a lot of different ideas what being in a different country was going to be like. You grow up having different perceptions all based from what the media portrays. When I finally arrived in Europe I honestly had a lot of different ideas on what the country would be like and the people. A great deal of these perceptions were wrong. For example the French are not generally rude and will hate you for being American/English Speaking. (Note: I was only in Paris, which is quite touristy, mind you.) Since, I was also living abroad being in a place become less exotic if you are trying to live day to day life. As an example I became a little desensitized to the fact many shops were closed on Sundays and made sure to do my grocery shopping on a Saturday or Friday.

4. Kindness is Universal

I had a lot of troubles while abroad. For the first few days I hardly had any Euros because I got locked out of my account, I didn’t have an adapter to charge any of my electronics, my phone didn’t work abroad, and I was constantly getting lost in the city I was studying in. I can honestly say I am pretty sure I made every rookie mistake one can make in a foreign country. One thing I did have to learn is to actually ask for help because there were many times where I was unable to figure out certain things by myself. This was hard for me because I pride myself in being independent. The thing I found is that people are kind all over the world and are more than willing to help you out, even if you are just a confused little tourist.

5.Be Gracious

I am a lucky individual to be given the chance to see and actually be in some of the places I am in. For many traveling is a dream and many don’t even know certain places exist. After so many people have been so kind to me it is important to say thank you and to show gratitude. Saying thank you in another language is one of the most essential skills one can. I made sure to write a thank you note to all my teachers and for those who helped me. (I also made sure to add special candies that you can only find in my part of the globe, this sort of goes back to sharing your own culture.) At the end of the day savor the moment and days you have, especially if things don’t always go as planned.

Image Credit: Eli Defaria

These are just a few things I learned during my short semester. For those who have lived in a foreign country, what things have you learned?

The Silk Road: The Origins of International Business

2 Imagine a world where ideas must travel through 5,700 miles of road and not through the convenience of a screen on an electronic device.

Today, doing business internationally has become a way of life. There is hardly a single business out there that does not depend on the help of another country.

The invention of the internet has granted access to just about any good or service in the world, but what about a time when such a thing was not so simple?

Recently, I had a chance to visit the Denver Museum of Nature and Science’s exhibit on the Silk Road. The Silk Road was a network of trade routes that originated in Xi’an city in China and expanded to parts of Southern Europe. The exhibit expanded my knowledge on how international business worked in the past and how certain things have radically changed since that time and how some things have remained the same.

Marketing in the Olden Days

On the Silk Road it seems that marketing didn’t happen in the sense that we know it today, that is a business promoting itself to influence others to purchase its goods or services. Outside of merchants trying to promote their goods, the marketing seen on the Silk Road dealt with the promotion of one’s own personal culture. Those that traveled through the Silk Road came from many different cultures that spoke different languages. One of the best ways that travelers could communicate on the Silk Road was through music and imagery. Religions such as Islam and Buddhism promoted their beliefs through the sound of their musical instruments. Imagery on fabrics, stones, walls, and various other objects were used to express cultural concepts and ideas.

Ancient Chinese Secret

Today, businesses harbor secrets to keep their competitive advantage over those within their industry. On the Silk Road entire countries kept their competitive advantage by keeping the methods of their specialized products a secret. China is of course the most notorious example of this and for years the secrets of paper making, print making, gunpowder production, and most importantly silk laid primarily with the Chinese. This was until various wars broke out most notably the one with the Arab Empire in 750 that forced the Chinese to reveal their secrets.

Silk Making in China
Silk Making in China

When the East meets the West

China was not the only source of trade along the Silk Road, other regions that traded on the Silk Road included Central Asia, the Middle East, India, and Mediterranean Europe. As the West longed for China’s luxurious silk, China longed for luxuries that the West could provide such as grapes, olive oil, wool, and perfumes. As stated above ideas and concepts traveled along the Silk Road, and as certain concepts reached certain regions those concepts were adapted to fit within that culture. There have been many studies done to see how certain concepts changed and received a specific type of regional branding as they moved along the Silk Road. One example in particular is of the Greek god, Boreas who kept much of the same basic iconography as the concept traveled to the East.

The Impact

Looking through the exhibit it became clear to me just how of an impact the Silk Road had on civilization and how it also help lay down the foundations of international business. The exhibit ended on an interesting note that pointed that with the creation of the internet, a new age emerged.  No matter where you are, you can be connected to another culture and obtain information as well as international goods with just a click of a button.

This has been a very broad summery on the Silk Road and the impact it has had on the modern world, for more information I strongly suggest you check out texts such as The Silk Road in World History. If you are in the Colorado area visit the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and check out Traveling the Silk Road Exhibit, that lasts till May 3rd.

What were some of the other impacts the Silk Road had on our modern world and history? Leave a comment and let’s discuss. Image Credit: Shanna Farley Want to learn more about Global Marketing? Check out my posts on: Coca-Cola’s Lovemark on the Globe WordPress Post