Two of TripGourmets dearest friends (who also happen to be childhood sweethearts) recently married in the Westerwald region of Germany. We decided to tag a few days onto the trip, and visit the city of Cologne on the way there. During our visit, we took another few thousand pictures so thought we would create a Cologne gallery of photos to share with our readers!
Like our current home city of Basel, Cologne also straddles the Rhein river. However, unlike Basel, Cologne was heavily bombed during World War II. With the British Air Force dropping more than 35,000 tons of bombs on Cologne in 262 separate air raids, the city was devastated. 95% of the population was either evacuated or killed, and much of the architecture was destroyed.
At the end of the war when Germany was carved up between the Allies, Cologne benefitted from its proximity to both Düsseldorf and Bonn. The city underwent a huge regeneration, with many of the destroyed Romanesque churches being carefully reconstructed. Today, it is the fourth-largest city in Germany and home to one of Europe’s oldest and largest universities.
City of contrasts
The destruction of the city has resulted in architecture that is a contrasting mix of old and new.
The most notable landmark is the Dom (cathedral) – the largest gothic church in Northern Europe. Other sites include the Rathaus (town hall) and the medieval city gates. For us, the imposing Hohenzollernbrücke over the Rhein was one of the highlights.
Although the contrasting architecture is not to everyone’s taste, the city itself has a wonderful vibe composed of contrasts. We found Cologne to be relaxed but lively, peaceful but buzzing, all at the same time. Scroll down to view our Cologne gallery, and see for yourself!
If you enjoyed our Cologne gallery, then make sure to check back as we will soon be releasing a full post about Cologne. If you really can’t wait then check out this post on Cologne from Nomadic Matt, or this one from fellow blogger Miss Tourist.
Which is your favourite river city? Do you also enjoy contrasts of old and new? We always love to chat to our readers so please leave your comments in the box below!