Cologne Cathedral

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Cologne, Germany

Cologne Cathedral Reviews

HelenP HelenP
53 reviews
Medieval Religous Splendour Mar 02, 2018
Cologne Cathedral stands prominently in the centre of the City, dwarfing all around it and making a stark contrast to the otherwise modern buildings. The reason for the latter can be found by looking at the 1940’s photographs attached to the side of the building; complete devastation as a result of the allied bombing at the end of WWII. There are those that say that it was a miracle that the church was saved from destruction, but others attribute it more to a combination of metal rather than wood roof beams and the fact that the bomber pilots used the cathedral to get a bearing before dropping their cargo. Whatever the reason, it survived the war and is today a wonderful, must see, place to visit when in Cologne.

There has been a religious structure on the site since the mid-5th centuary, but the present building was commenced in the 12th centuary as a result of Cologne receiving the bones of the three Magi (otherwise known as the three wise men who visited the infant Jesus). In medieval times this was a significant holy relic and thus made Cologne a magnet for pilgrims. The growing number of visitors resulted in work on the present church commencing, with the foundation stone laid in 1248. Progress was slow and halted several times, and it was not until the late 19th century that the building was completed.

As is to be expected, the most precious object is the shrine of the three Magi which is situated at the eastern end of the cathedral. The beautifully worked casket is made from beaten gold and silver is adorned with precious stones and enamel. It is one of the finest examples of the medieval European goldsmith’s art.

In addition to the reliquary other treasures include Archbishop Gero’s cross which is located in the Chapel of the Cross. Although it looks very modern, it is in fact over a thousand years old.

There is also a beautifully crafted alter piece depicting the Virgin Mary being visited by theAangel Gabriel and superb stained glass windows dating from medieval right up to the present day. The window of coloured glass squares by Gerhard Richter was installed in 2007. My personal favourite is the Three Magi window which was installed 1848 and gives the traditional depiction of Balthazar as an old Caucasian man in a red cloak , Melchoir as middle aged and brown skinned and Casper as a young Moor.

Visitors can, for small fees, also visit the treasury and ascend the tower for magnificent views across the city.
The miracle cathedral rising out o…
Interior of Cathedral
The Three Magi Shrine
the shrine of the Magi
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photo by: lauro