From Netherlands, our tour bus drove us to Germany. Cologne was our destination this time.
Cologne, a 2000 year old city , located on the banks of the river Rhine in Western Germany; is known for its medieval architectural buildings….particularly its churches. The Cologne Cathedral and the Twelve Romanesque churches of Cologne located here are some of the most visited pilgrimage destinations in Europe. And ofcourse, the city is known for Eau de Cologne which was produced here since 1709.
A little bit into the past….
It was a city in the Holy Roman Empire and one of the major European cities in Medieval and Renaissance period. It was occupied by the French and the British at various periods in history prior to World War II. After getting heavily bombed in World War II, it was rebuilt.. restoring major historic landmarks like city gates and churches. This explains the Romanesque churches seen here.
Some of the important places we visited in Cologne were…
This is the most famous landmark in Cologne. It is a twin spired Gothic church and houses the Shrine of the Three Kings. It is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site.
The black colour is due to the reaction of the sandstone with rain which makes it distinctly black.
Imposing twin spires of Cologne Cathedral
The intricately decorated outsides of the cathedral
The imposing roof
The beautiful glass murals in the cathedral
The Twelve Romanesque churches:
These are the cultural highlights of the city. Built between the 12th and 13th centuries, they are outstanding examples of medieval church architecture and art. Most of them were badly damaged in WW II and were restored later.
The Roman architecture in all these structures is outstanding. Some of the more famous ones are St Maria im Kapitol, Great St Martin and St Gereon. Some pictures….
St Maria im Kapitol
Great St Martin
The Cologne city hall
Founded in the 12th century, this is the oldest city hall still in use in Germany. It houses the city council and offices of the Mayor.
City Hall Cologne
Several bridges cross the Rhine in Cologne and the most dominant of these is the Hohenzollern bridge with its iron arches.
Cologne Cable car:
Another unique river crossing is provided by the Cologne cable car which runs across the river Rhine!!
The Cologne cable car
Eau de Cologne:
Meaning “Water of Cologne”this perfume has an interesting history about which most of us are unaware as we dab it on and get about our work!!
Produced in the 18th century, it became increasingly popular and was exported all over Europe by the Farina family. After the entry of someone from the Mulhens family into the business, there were court battles over the name and finally he called the perfume by his house number 4711. Eau de Cologne is still produced in Cologne today by both the Farina family (eighth generation) and by Maurer and Wirtz who bought the 4711 brand!
After a short fleeting ride along many landmarks of Cologne, we headed to the hotel for the night but looking forward to a cruise on the Rhine next day…
The Rhine is one of the major rivers in Europe. Originating in the Swiss Alps, it defines the Swiss borders with Liechtenstein, Austria and Germany, and also the French German borders before flowing through Rhineland in Germany and finally through Netherlands into the North Sea. It has been a navigable waterway for men and materials right from Roman times.
It flows through Rhineland in Germany where we undertook this Cruise…
Some pictures from the Cruise for you to enjoy…..
On the deck of the ferry
Interior of the ferry
The Boarding station
Just off the boarding station, the beautiful houses on the hillside
Some beautiful country side in Germany
The Vineyards on the slopes
At many places, caravans parked along the Rhine by picnickers
One of the many castles seen on the way
A house partly in the river…supposedly of some wealthy german
The mighty Rhine as it turns sharply
And a train passes a town
After enjoying an hour of this cruise which took us through some beautiful German countryside, we alighted and headed for lunch.
Post lunch we had some interesting things lined up including a visit to The Black Forest region . See you next week among some ancient cuckoo clocks..
Till then, keep your comments flowing like the Rhine….and do subscribe