"Roman History, Magnificent Cathedral, and Kölsch" Top 5 Page for this destination Cologne by BillNJ

Cologne Travel Guide: 1,656 reviews and 4,399 photos

Roman History: Former Colony on the Rhine River

The German name for the city is Köln, and the French (and English) name is Cologne. However, the Romans originally knew it by a much longer name: Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium in honor of the Roman Empress Agrippa. By 5 A.D., the Romans shortened the name to Colonia. The site on the Rhine River was originally chosen as a frontier post. For 500 years, the Rhine River marked the border between the Roman Empire and the lands of Germanic tribes. In Roman times, the city developed into one of the empire's most important trade and manufacturing centers north of the Alps.

Magnificent Cathedral: 632 Years to Complete!

The magnificent gothic Cathedral is the dominant structure in Cologne. The Cologne Cathedral is one of the most visited landmarks in the world and one of the best known monuments in Germany. The Cathedral is known in Germany as the Kölner Dom or the Domkirche St. Peter und Maria. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne and under administration of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Cologne Cathedral was built to house relics of the Magi (Three Wise Men) who visited Joseph, Mary, and the baby Jesus in Bethlehem. The relics were given to the Archbishop of Cologne, Rainald of Dassel, in 1164. Today, visitors can view the Sarcophagus of the Magi, a large gilded sarcophagus dating from the 13th century, and the largest reliquary in the Western world.

The start of building of the Cologne Cathedral was in 1248. In the mid-1500's, construction was abandoned. The Cathedral was not finished until 1880. Thus, the Cathedral took 632 years to complete!

Kölsch: Great Beer and Symbol of City's Lifestyle

Kölsch is Cologne's local beer. It is clear with a bright straw yellow hue, and it has a prominent, but not extreme, hoppiness. It is less bitter than the standard German lager beer, Pils. In a nutshell, Kölsch is a light, easy-drinking beer.

More than just a beer, Kölsch symbolizes the Cologne mentality and lifestyle. The saying ?et hätt noch immer joot jejange" (roughly translated as ?everything will be alright?) describes the optimistic mentality and lifestyle that characterizes the city's residents. Enjoying Kölsch and conversation in the numerous squares, beer houses, and pubs is one of the favourite leisure activities of the citizens of Cologne.

On Saturday, May 24, 2008, a group of VTers met in Cologne to uphold the Kölsch tradition. On that occasion, I had the pleasure of meeting and enjoying the company of the following VTers: Shigehiro (Leny), Sabsi (Sabs), TinyTuck (Stef), HORSCHECK (Holger), RhineRoll (Win), seppoman (Thomas), yumyum (Sonja), and Maria250 (Maria). It was a great finale to my 10-day trip to Europe! Other photos of the VT meeting are included throughout my Cologne tips. Also, special thanks to Sabs for organizing the meeting.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Magnificent Cathedral, Tasty Kölsch, and Friendly People
  • Cons:That I am not presently enjoying a Kölsch in Cologne!
  • In a nutshell:Kölsch is more than just a beer -- it is a way of life!
  • Last visit to Cologne: May 2008
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (37)

Comments (31)

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Nov 27, 2010 at 10:13 AM

    You need so much time to explore Cologne... I'm glad I've just been there....

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Aug 21, 2010 at 12:27 PM

    We never had enough time to see the depth of sites like you did, but got a few Kolsch down to take in local culture. Nice pictures and comments.

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Mar 16, 2010 at 1:28 AM

    Nice page! I think I would probably prefer the hop on off tour, but it sounded like you saw a lot on the bus tour you did.

  • yellowbell's Profile Photo
    Dec 6, 2009 at 3:35 PM

    If ever I visit Cologne, I'd be taking the city bus tour and the boat ride. I love public transports when traveling. No hassle in parking and driving in unknown road condition. Thanks for your rating of my Quezon City page. Cheers!

  • icunme's Profile Photo
    Sep 2, 2009 at 3:46 AM

    Yep, they are so organized in Germany that even the trains are on time!! BRAVO from one living in Italy. Grazie for great photos/detail. <(?¿?)>

  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo
    May 21, 2009 at 10:50 AM

    Halve Hahn, currywurst...eating standing up, drinking lying down. Man, you should move to Germany, it's your element!

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Apr 17, 2009 at 12:18 AM

    To get a great view over the city from the cathedral spire it must absolutly be worth walking up all the stairs! Sounds like you had a great VT-meeting! Cologne is called Köln in Swedish too.

  • Mikebb's Profile Photo
    Mar 10, 2009 at 2:54 AM

    Hi Bill, Nice tips, we were there for 90 minutes in 1993, Trafalgar coach tour, stopped outside the Cathedral, quick look and then everyone went to Mc Donalds for lunch. Should have walked the bridge!

  • littlesam1's Profile Photo
    Mar 7, 2009 at 8:50 AM

    Interesting page on one of my favorite cities.

  • asianbelle's Profile Photo
    Jan 18, 2009 at 7:54 PM

    Passed by the Cathedral at night, well lighted and magnificent.


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