Cologne (in German „Köln“) is with more than one million citizens the largest city in North Rhine-Westphalia (Federal state of Germany) and the 4th largest city in Germany. It was founded more than 2000 Years ago by the Romans and is located at the river Rhine.
When you visit Cologne, arriving by train is always a good choice. The public transport network is dense and the subway usually arrives every 5-10 minutes. Also a lot of the highlights are located in the centre right next to the central station.
The Cologne Cathedral is hard to overlook when you leave the central station. This twin-spired, gothic monument is Germany´s most visited landmark and declared World Heritage Site. The „Kölner Dom“ (as it is called in German) is with 157 m (515ft) the second tallest church in Europe and the third largest in the world. Also many other roman churches, ancient monuments, the city wall and the old city centre give you an impression of the more than 2000 years of history of the city.
Directly behind the Cologne Cathedral are shopping streets called “Hohe Straße” and “Schildergasse”. In the summer, the Rhine promenade and the old city centre are popular spots for citizens and tourists to relax, sit in cafés bars or restaurants. Also the Chocolate museum and the Romano-Germanic museum are worth a visit.
Over its long history, Cologne developed a unique culture manifested e.g. in its own dialect and beer (both called „Kölsch“). It is also famous for the Carnival. During the street carnival in February with parades, costumes, public music and drinking, the city becomes one huge party for a few days. People from cologne are said to be extroverted and very direct, down-to-earth but also liberal and tolerant. So it is not surprising that Cologne is the stronghold for homosexuals in Germany, manifested in the subculture, with Shops, Bars, Cafes and Clubs.
As an economic and cultural metropolis, Cologne is the location for many big companies such as AXA, REWE, LANXESS or Lufthansa. With one of the biggest and oldest universities in Germany the “Universität zu Köln” and other academic institutions Cologne is inhabited by more than 90.000 students.
As a student city with an open minded culture and public transport all night long, cologne attracts thousands of people every weekend. The city centre and “the Rings” (subway stations: Friesenplatz, Rudolfplatz, Zülpicher Platz) are the most popular destinations for party people. With clubs like the Diamonds, Nachtflug/Starz, Crystall, Loom, einunfünfzig, Flamingo Royal, Vanity, Klapsmühle and lots of bars and restaurants, there is something for everyone.
Special events are besides the carnival in February, the „Cologne Lights“(a big firework over the river Rhine with music and drinking), the Christopher Street Day (Gay Pride Parade – visited by all kinds of people to celebrate) or the Summerjam (one of the largest Reggae-festivals in Europe, at the Fühlinger lake).
Hohe Straße and Schildergasse
Universität zu Köln
Special events http://www.cologne.de/events
Christopher Street Day
Written by Maike Becker