Why go to Cologne?
Cologne is like a living, breathing 3D textbook on history and architecture. As you meander about the town you’ll stumble across ancient Roman walls, medieval churches and post war buildings. But what makes this city cool, is its quirk.
The people of Cologne are known for their happy nature and it is easy to have a good time right along with them with year-round beers halls in the Altstadt – old town. If you thought Germany’s beer culture was all about oversized steins of frothy lager think again. Here the bars serve up a light 20cl glass of Kölsch, a pale and hoppy beer that must be made in Cologne to be granted the title. Expect the waiters to continue slapping cold ones in front of you until you admit defeat and place a beer mat over your glass.
A must- do sight is the Dom in Cologne but what really makes this church special is the Shrine of the Three Kings. It is said to contain the bones of the Three Wise Men from the Bible. It’s attracted pilgrims since the middle ages so the city decided it had better house these bones properly and the Dom was built to cater for it. Cologne’s obsession with bones doesn’t end there. According to legend Saint Ursula went on a tour with 11,000 virgin friends but was captured in Cologne by a gang of Huns and murdered. The remains were supposedly found in a mass grave in 1155 and what did they do with these bones? They decorated the inside of the Basilica of St Ursula in what has now become known as the Golden Chamber. The quirk doesn’t end there. The city’s sewers were first built by the Romans and required an upgrade in the 19th century after the 1800 year old infrastructure was pushed past its limits by a population boom. The new system was so impressive it was deemed worthy of a royal visit from Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1890 so naturally they needed to be equipped with chandeliers. These days you can take a look inside the sewers themselves or attend one of the many concerts held down there.