Visitors to Cologne will find a modern city with historic roots. Cologne is the oldest of Germany’s large cities and the impressive outline of its cathedral, a Gothic masterpiece and the most visited building in Germany, towers over all of the other buildings. The cathedral, which was started in 1248, was one of the most ambitious building projects of the Middle Ages and is still one of the largest cathedrals in Europe.
The city was born as a Roman colony, hence the name Colonia, which later became Cologne, or Köln in German. Nowadays, Cologne is a metropolis in all senses of the word, both in terms of its size and of the attractions it has to offer. It is also a centre for the arts, with many galleries and large international trade fairs.
The city’s skyline is dominated by the cathedral and twelve Romanic churches, as well as by five large radio and television buildings. Many printing firms and newspaper companies are based in Cologne, one of Europe’s most important media cities. Visitors will find that the majority of the sights, restaurants and nightclubs in Cologne are located in the city centre, in the Altstadt (Old Town), alongside the ring road around the city and in the Severin district to the south.
Cologne’s location on the Rhine makes it the perfect starting place for romantic trips down the river. Among the more modern architectural sights, the Neo-Gothic building on Glockenstrasse is one of the most popular ones for visitors. This is where the city’s most famous product, Eau de Cologne 4711, was originally manufactured.