The Cologne Triangle is a tall office building on the east side of the Rhine. Its location just east of the Hohenzollern Bridge and the Cathedral offers perfect views of the famous Cologne skyline. The observation platform is right on top of the building, over a hundred meters above the ground. It can be accessed by a super fast lift and costs 3 euros per adult. You buy the ticket from an automated machine to your right as you walk in and then pass it across an automated gate to enter. Be careful to push straight through when the light goes green or you will not be allowed in. As happened to me...
Inaugurated in 50AD, Cologne was an important Roman city and provincial capital. There's a large number of significant Roman relics about the city, and the Romerturm is one of the most striking. The tower is part of the original fortifications: the wall that encircled the city. It still retains the coloured stones from its original design.
Just south of the tower is the Antiker Turm, another part of the original Roman Wall, and just outside the Cathedral to the west is the North Tower.
Museum Ludwig houses collections of Modern art, from Pop-Art, Abstract to Surrealism. It has one of the largest Picasso collection in whole of Europe. The museum was built in 1976 and was designed by the German architects Peter Busmann and Godfrid Haberer. The number of very significant peaces of art could be seen in this museum, such as works by Marc Chagall, Kasimir Malevich, Andy Warhol, Ljubov Popova, August Macke and many others.
On one of my recent visits to the Cologne I saw the opera The Meistersinger of Nürnberg by Richard Wagner, as staged by Uwe Eric Laufenberg, who is now also General Manager of the Cologne Opera.
This is a tricky opera to stage because it gets very nationalistic towards the end (no wonder it was one of Hitler's favorite operas). Laufenberg gets around this very elegantly by placing the last scene in 21st century Cologne, not 16th century Nürnberg, and having it take place right in front of the opera house with all sorts of typically Cologne things going on, both live and on a video screen, to distract attention from the nationalistic pathos.
Update 2012: After a long public altercation with city officials, Uwe Eric Laufenberg was dismissed without notice as General Manager of the Cologne Opera in June 2012. A few months later the Cologne Opera was chosen both as Opera House of the Year and as Outrage of the Year by the critics of Opernwelt magazine. Laufenberg has since been hired as the next General Manager of the Hessen State Opera in Wiesbaden, starting in 2014.
To be full your experience you have to climb one of the towers. There are 533 steps in a narrow cylindrical tower! You can feel the adrenaline while climbing and it deserves the view - the whole city from 360 degrees landing. There are 2-3 places where you can stop and have a little rest and on the last one you can see one of the biggest bells I have ever seen.
For 8.50euro you can tour this fun museum filled with exhibits that explain every imaginable facet of chocolate making. About half way through is a large chocolate fountain where you get a free sample of warm melted chocolate on a wafer cookie. My husband and I agreed this would have been a blast for kids, but it was a little dull for adults.
Tues. to Fri. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sat., Sun., holidays 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
closed on Mondays
Last admittance one hour before closing
As I am sure most folks know Cologne was the far northern extension of the Roman empire. What we didn't realize until we talked to a local was that Cologne actually has had a series of walls built around it. The first was the Roman walls in the second century and they comprised just the immediate downtown area. A thirteenth century set of walls enclose an area about three times larger than the Roman walls showing how much the City had grown over the next 1100 years. Finally the modern Cologne with its own form of walls, a half circle formed by two busy autobahnen, is about ten times as large as the medieval city. Looking for signs of this existence was one of our tasks in the limited time we had in Cologne.
Our trip wasn't particularly successful. It was easy of course to spot the Roman Gate next to the Cathedral because it was well marked. However the photograph shows a portion of the wall surrounding the northern extension of the old roman town.
This opera house was thrown up in a hurry after the Second World War to replace the old one which had been destroyed by bombings.
Now half a century later the house is badly in need of an overhaul, so at some point it will be closed for renovation for two or three years. Originally the renovation work was scheduled for the years 2010 to 2013, but this has now been postponed so they can do at least some of their productions of the 2010/2011 season in the opera house.
I have seen several operas in this house, including Der Koenig Kandaules by Alexander Zemlinsky (with Nina Warren as the Queen).
For more on Zemlinsky and some of his contemporaries, please see my tip/review called The lost generation of opera composers on my Zürich page.
1. Opera House on Offenbachplatz
2. Inside the Opera House
3. Back side of the Opera House
4. Bridge over the street with website
after two days of sightseeing in cologne, we had an excellent massage there. the place is very clean, has a lovely tasteful furnishing and the staff is nice and helpful. although it is in the touristic old city center, we felt warm welcome and got a very good service. its right next to the dom cathedral, opposite of the historic town-hall.
Heinzel manchen are the little house gnomes said to have done all the workd of the citizends during the night, so that Colognese people could be very lazy during a day. The local legend says this went on until a tailor's wife got so curious to see the gnomes, that she scattered peas onto the floor of the workshop to make the gnomes slip and fall. The gnomes, being infuriated, disappeared and never returned.
From that time on, the citizens of Cologne had to do all their work by themselves.%s
The Romanesque/Gothic church of Saint Ursula is built upon the ancient ruins of a Roman times cemetery. They say it were spot where 11,000 virgins associated with the legend of Saint Ursula have been buried. It is one of the twelve Romanesque styled churches of Cologne and a Minor Basilica of the city.
The church was first built in 1135 and dedicated to Saint Ursula, the patron saint of Cologne. The legend says St. Ursula was martyred in cologne with her 11.000 virgin companions in about 451.
Cologne was important Roman province established in 50 AC, following a victory of the Ubier. After signing a peace agreement the Ubier moved to the left bank of the Rhine and together with Romans founded the common settlement Oppidum Ubiorum (city of the Ubiers).
Per wish of Agrippina, who was born in Cologne and later married to Emperor Claudius, Cologne was given the city status and was named Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium (CCAA). Agrippina poisoned her husband in order to bring her son Nero to the throne. He had his mother assasinated in 59 AC.
The remains of the Roman presence could be seen in the several locations and suburbs of Cologne, which was well fortified and representating one of the strongholds of the Empire.
It seems Jews weren't popular in Cologne not even in the Middle Ages. In 1424 the city of Cologne turned the synagogue into a chapel for the City Hall, while the ceremonial baths were filled in. Nothing remains of the synagogue which was most likely the oldest in Europe!
The ceremonial baths or Mikwe were built in 1170 but then, as already said, filled in while at the same time the Jewish inhabitants of Cologne drove out. There is a small glass pyramid in the Rathausplatz which leads into the antechamber of Mikwe. The spiral stairway leading down into the shaft in which ritual cleansing with ground water was once carried out.
Guerzenich is historical festival hall, which the locals usually call "gute Stube" (something like place for good times). It was designed in 1444 to be a city dance and festival hall and place for ceremonial dinners for the city authorities. Guerzenich is named sfter local aristocratic family who built and owned this property. It was used to recieve the most important guests and visitors of Cologne, likewise kings and their queens. Nowadays it hosts the most important events in the city like the famous Colognese carnival.
For a city of steeples the Dropped Cone is a brilliantly cheeky addition to the Cologne skyline. It sits on the Neumarkt Galerie tilting over the Roncalli Circus in the square below and is rapidly becoming an icon of the city since its installation in 2001. The Neumarkt Galerie itself is one of Cologne best shopping centres, so it's worth dropping by just for that.
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