Old Town, Cologne
In the center of the Alter Markt Square, the biggest square in Cologne’s old town, stands a fountain with a statue of Jan von Werth that dates to 1884. Jan von Werth was Cavalry General during Thirty Years War and fought for Catholic League. Since Cologne was traditional Catholic city and its Archbishop was one of seven electors of the Emperor of Holy Roman Empire, General Von Werth is still popular here. The fountain and monument were created by the German sculptor Wilhelm Albermann. There are several bas-relieves shoving some scenes from the live of Jan von Werth. Some of them tell you the story of Jan von Werth and Griet, whom Jan had fallen in love with. Griet rejected Jan - a simple farmboy - since he wasn't wealthy. Dejected, Jan joined the army where he was able to reach the rank of general. Years later he married to a noble lady. When Jan triumphantly arrived back in Cologne at the head of his cavalry he saw Griet, who was full of regret, still unmarried since no rich man had proposed to her. Old and wrinkled she muttered the words “Oh, Jan, if only I had known”. There's moral in that story!
In 1441, the city of Cologne decided to tear down the existing buildings and replace them with a new, large structure, to be named “Gürzenich”. Construction eventually started in 1441 and would last until 1447. It has late Gothic facade. The interior was developed in the style of the fifties (XX century). In 1997 the building underwent a complete renovation with the objective of combining its historical architecture with state-of-the-art event technology in an exclusive event centre. Now building as the place celebrations, congresses, balls, concerts and other social events.
Haus Saaleck is standing at a corner of Am Hof and Unter Taschenmacher. This is late Gothic style bui;din built in 1461 in the middle of the Kölner Altstadt (Old Cty). Unfortunately but the building was badly damaged by Anglo-American bombardments during WW II. Since reconstruction was over, that building became an exhibition center for the Kölnischen Stadtmuseums, where since 1974 many artists have exhibited their work.
Open: Tuesday-Saturday from 13:00 till 19:00
Closed on Saundays and Mondays
The Overstolzenhaus is medieval patrician house built in late Romanesque and early Gothic styles between 1225 and 1230 by Werner Overstolz. That’s why it is Overstolzenhaus or just Overstoz’s House. It is the last remaining of its kind building in Cologne and thought to be the best example in Germany. Its exterior is ornate and gabled and inside its walls were adorned in the style of nobility with one painted scene of a tournament still evident today. The building was renovated in the XIX century and today houses Cologne’s media college.
At the little square west of City Hall were found the structures of medieval building and underneath ever earlier Roman architectural remains. This area is designated as Archeological zone/Jewish Museum. Then archeologist will finish their job then big museum will be organized here. Until these lucky days the best observation point to observe this archeological excavation is upper floors of Wallraf – Rihartz Museum.
I just loved walking around Old Town Cologne; it's just so beautiful! There are so many colorful buildings, plazas and little streets to wander around and I would keep finding one area or building that I found to be cuter than the last! What I liked most it's not overrun with souvenir shops and/or other "touristy" attractions that would take away from it's beauty.
If you'd like to see more of Old Town (Alstadt), check out my travelogue!
The old town area of Cologne is not very big, but very quaint and picturesque, Some of the buildings in this area date from the Middle ages..There are lots of cafes and bars near the river where you can sit and watch the world go by or just browse the multitude of little shops.
The river promenade along the old town is busy and touristy. Here the cruise boats land. From here the cruise tourists start their day visits to the town. With the increasing popularity of river cruises, the number of cruise tourists is rising. My recommendation: get away from the surroundings of the boat landings as quickly as possible…
The old town area of Cologne is walking distance from the Dom and by the side of the river rhine. It is very beautiful. Some of the houses in the altstadt date back to the Middle ages but are very colourful and well maintained. Most of these houses have now been converted to Cafes, bars and restaurants where many people just hang out. I don't know the quality though.
A group of reconstructed, colourfully painted houses, between the Rhine and the Church Groß-St. Martin. The houses are not exact replicas of the original houses but resemble the original houses in size, style and proportion.
A lively spot on the banks of the river Rhine and in the shadow of the cathedral, the Altstadt and Alter Markt, the former Medieval market square, remains the heart and soul of the city. Badly damaged in WWII, it was rebuilt respecting the original layout and buildings destroyed. Groß St Martin, arguably the most significant of the 12 Romanesque churches to be found in Cologne, also casts its shadow over the Altstadt.
Easily the most touristy part of the city, Cologne's old town is a nice place to go for a stroll and you quickly find it just below the Dome. Here you can just sit in a bar by the river (but eat somewhere else - see my tourist trap) and watch the world go by. There is also the old Town Hall which I will once make into a tip of its own (last time I visited, it was covered in scaffolding). There are lots of little alleyways to discover even if the area as such is quite small and you cannot help wondering what the real old town looked like. Not only was the city bombed during WWII, but by then the Altstadt had already been changed by the nazi architects who wanted a more Hanseatic look to Cologne!
Alter Markt (the Old Square) is, as its name says, the oldest square in Cologne. I found it pretty much attractive but, in my opinion, not all of its sides were succesfully reconstructed, in particularly th side which is situated behind the Town Hall. Alter Markt is the heart of Colognese nightlife with many breweries and pubs all around the square. It is very vivid square, full of people during the day and until late night.
Heumarkt is, I suppose so, the biggest square in Cologne, the biggest I have seen during my exploring the town. It is very colourful square surrounded in three of its sides by the traditional Colognese buildings, each one coloured by different colour. The whole square was completely reconstructed after WW II, because the town of Cologne, except for the cathedral, was totaly smashed down in bombings. Some of the most beautiful, Colognese medieval styled houses, can be seen on this square.
This was the harbour area of Cologne, the area is now known as the "Alstadt".
All of these buildings were rebuilt after world war 2 to their 17th century appearance.
Today, they house cafes and offer a picturesque little square located by the river.