Germany - 'Cologne in Germany Tour'
by Manfred Richter
Cologne is the oldest city of Germany dating back to the times of the Romans and even got its name, Colonia, from them since it was a colony of Rome in 50 A.D. The Romans also brought christianity to Cologne and had been a residence to several bishops. Nowadays, you can still find some remains of Roman fortifications, churches and buildings all over the city like the Roman North Gate, the City Hall, the Roman tower and the City Gates. Though populated by several Roman churches like the Great St. Martin and St. Gereon churches, Cologne is more famous for its landmark, the Cathedral of Cologne, world heritage site since 1998. The gothic Cathedral was built in 1248 and finally completed in 1880. It houses the Relics of the Magi since the 13th century that made the city one of the famous pilgrim destinations.
Cologne's old town, though destroyed during the war, is something worth to visit for its old and colorful houses, historical buildings and churches and narrow streets which give one the perfect nostalgia of the old Cologne. But not only that, most old houses or buildings have been used nowadays as restaurants, hotels and bars so you can roam around your way not getting hungry or thirsty. Especially, not thirsty because Cologne has its Koelsch - the Cologne beer. So for beer lovers, have fun!
There are so many things you can do in Cologne. Since it is the center of art in the country, you can visit several museums to your liking. A roundtrip boat tour on the Rhine is also something not to miss. Or a ride on the Rheinseilbahn, a hanging cable cars going across the river giving you an opportunity to see the beautiful panorama of Cologne from the top. There are also trolleys which are trying to look like trains bringing you to the Cologne Zoo or the Chocolate Museum. Though the zoo is not that far from the cathedral's area, it's a very nice experience especially for the children to have this ride. You can normally find these trolleys in front of the southern transept of the cathedral called Roncalliplatz.
Adjacent to the zoo are the Flora and the Botanical Garden. These beautifully landscaped gardens are homes to different species of plants, trees, flowers from different continents. Perfect time to visit is during spring, the color is just so beautiful. Another green area in Cologne is the Rheinpark. From the city center, you cross the river and walk to the left side of the bank. The park is well maintained, very clean and is perfect for family picnic. It even has a playground for kids so even the little ones won't get bored. Close to the park is the Tanzbrunnen, it's a fountain with a dancing area in the center thus the name Tanzbrunnen, fountain for dancing. This is used as an open-air stage and event hall for concerts.
Shopping in Cologne is something you don't want to miss. The Hohe Strasse is the most famous street for shopping in the region and probably in the whole country. This is always full of shoppers no matter what the weather is. But there are also malls, shopping arcades and promenades if you don't want to be outside all the time. Don't forget to get yourself the famous souvenir, the Koelnischwasser - the original Eau-de-Cologne. Its formula has been produced in the place since 1709 and used by legendary people like Napoleon. Aside from the regular shopping, Cologne is also famous for the Christmas Markets. People tour here during cold season just for these markets. You'll have an array of choices, from decorations to delicacies, plus a taste of gluehwein, a warm wine normally served in christmas mugs, to keep you warm.
Annual famous events in Cologne would include the Carnival - a very festive and colorful celebration which is normally held in February. Main highlight is the parade, people and even celebrities in colorful costumes and floats. Another famous event is the Koelner Lichter - Cologne Lights, a spectacular show of fireworks on the Rhine. This event is attracting up to more than 1 million visitors per year. Koelner Lichter is normally in summer, often in July.
So if you're planning to visit Cologne, it's ideal of course to visit in summer when you have more probability of having a nice weather. Have fun and enjoy your visit!
About The Author
Manfred Richter has a passion for traveling and photography. He's an occassional contributor of the site http://www.capturedplaces.com/. View his Cologne picture gallery at http://www.capturedplaces.com/cologne/index.php