Basilica of St. Severin is an early Romanesque construction located in the Sudstadt of Cologne. It was originaly built in the 4th century as memorial chapel and dedicated to St. Severin of Cologne. The original chapel was extended several times and ita present look dates from the 13th to 15th centuries. Later on it used to be the collegiate church and since 1953 it was designed Basilica minor. The oldest part of today's basilica date back to the 10th century.
Basilica St. Severin belongs to the group of twelve Romanesque churches of Cologne.
Severinstorburg (The Severins Gate) is the southernmost of the medieval city fortifications, which were built between 1180 and 1220. Nowadays it is the symbol of the Southern District. Germans are practicale people indeed, this monuments is well preserved but maintaining cost money, so they decided rooms in the gatehouse can be rented for private events and earning part of money which need for the maintaining.
Severinstrasse was pleasant surprise with some very interesting sights, among others is Haus Balchem which houses branch of The City Library.
Haus Balchem is a 17th century Baroque styled building which used to be the meeting point for the local businessmen known as "Zum Goldenen Baeren"(House of the Golden Beer). As it name tells it was the brewery and Balchem brothers brewed beer here until the 19th century. Later on the house was sold to the certain Deutz and was known as "Deutzer Brauhaus". The haus is in particularly interesting for it doorway and the oriel above it.
As many knows it, the city of Cologne was reduced to rubble and ashes, after bombings in WW II, but Haus Balchem was among the few houses that survived. I bet pilots knew it was a brewery and therefore preserved it.
Bayenturm (Bayen Tower) is a 13th century construction, built at the same time as the medieval city walls and making the integral part of the defending system. It was the most southern tower and the city gate aswell. Due to its height of 35 metres it served also as an observing and monitoring point. The tower is constructed in the Gothic style with massive basement and octagonal shaped upper floors. In the 17th and 18th centuries the tower was used as a prison.
Today it houses FrauenMediaTurm, it is feminist museum preserving documents of the female emancipation.
Bottmuhle was built in 1587 to be a grape mill, but it produced wine quality which locals called "suure hungk" (sour dog). I guess such a wine provocated heavy headache to the consumers and it made somebody to close it down and use it more practically as the platform in the defence system of the city walls. The city walls, however, has been destroyed in the 19th century and Bottmuhle aswell.
The tower was privately rebuilt and thus closed to the public.
Malokoff Turm is situated along Rhine promenade in the southern part of the old city core. Although it look alike as an defending tower, it has nothing to do with the defending system of the city which was destroyed in the 19th century. This tower was built in 1855 and was used as the controll centre for the revolving bridge.
Malakoff Turm is located in between Chocolate Musem and St. Maria Lyskirche.
This very small church in Severistrasse is in particularly interesting, it is called St. Gregorius im Elend and is built in neo-Baroque style. Actually it is reconstruction of an 18th century church demolished during WW II bombings.
Its name in english is "The Church of Misery" and originally was built on the site of the Medieval cemetery of the destitute where heretics, strangers, the poor and the hanged were buried. The church is private property now and thus closed to the public.
St. Maria in Lyskirchen, situated at the Heumarkt, is originally 13th century Romanesque styled church, but heavilly damaged in bombings during WW II, same as the most of Cologne. The whole town was reconstructed after the war. The blush-pink exterior is original colour of the church when it was built. The church has wonderful Romanesque carvings on its west door.
An Lyskirchen 8
Saint George is relatively small Romanesque church situated at the corner of Waidmarkt and Georgestrasse. It is the only remaining Romanesque pillared basilica in whole of Rhineland. This basilica used to be a stop on the Medieval pilgrimage to Santiago in Spain. The church is significant for carved capitals in the porch and very impressive forked crucifix from the early 14th century.
Windeck is a municipality in the hills east of Cologne and it consists of the town Schladern and several smaller villages, often along the river Sieg and with great hiking possibilities as well as canoeing. The nicest village I have been in so far is Dattenfeld which is known for this lovely old Romanesque St Laurentius Church, with a history to at least the 13th century although much of it today is from the 19th century too. There are also castle ruins on several hills and nice countryside inns below them. You get here by regional train in about an hour since the railway meanders its way along the river. A great place to escape the crowds but only local Cologne-Bonn people seem to know this.
Opposite Bonn, at the foot of the misty, rolling hills of Siebengebirge, lies the summer resort town of Konigswinter. It's a small place, with not a great deal to see, but it does have a great location on the banks of the Rhine overlooking Bonn, and it does have at least one major draw: Schloss Drachenburg.
Konigswinter is an easy trip from Cologne, just look for any regional train heading in the direction of Koblenz and see if it stops there. It takes about 50 minutes.
Half way between Cologne and Bonn are the stunningly beautiful palaces of Bruhl. When we arrived it was late on a winter's day, and the early evening light produced amazingly long shadows stretched across glorious gardens. And in winter the gardens are almost completely empty of people.
Bruhl is a small town easily accessed by train from Cologne or Bonn - about 15 minutes from either. It's a pleasant little town, but the main draws are the two palaces of Augustusburg and Falkenlust. The Augustusburg Palace is right next to the train station, so even if you only have 15 minutes to spare on your way south from Cologne, it's absolutely worth stopping off here.
Although I never found Cologne to be in any way oppressive it is always nice to have a wander and find yourself a bit of personal space. A very pleasant sunny morning meander took me across the railway bridge from which I headed south along the riverside down to the old docks.
This gives you a different perspective of the city as you walk and once you pass the Severinsbrucke you can cross back to the main river where there's a riverside nature reserve which is popular with the locals for sunbathing and dog-walking etc.
Good for working up a thirst for the Kölsch's and hunger for the sausages.
This rococco palace is located in Brühl, south of Cologne. The palaces Augustusburg and Falkenlust once belonged to the archbishop of Cologne. As member of the bavarian Wittelsbach dynasty he had good connections to Bavaria and hired many great architects already known for other architectural achievements. The most important contribution is probably the grand staircase by Balthasar Neumann. Schloss Augustusburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Monument, and rightfully so.
Closed in December and January.
This small Hunting Palace is at a brisk walks distance from Schloss Augustusburg - go through the formal gardens, then turn left (sign-posted) and walk on roughly 1 km. It can be visited except for December/January.
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