Cologne Cathedral

Cologne Cathedral

With a population of more than a million people, Cologne is the fourth largest city in Germany. We sailed in about 9:30 p.m. but the rain dampened views of the lighted bridges and Cathedral. We awoke to a dry day with cool temperatures. Our morning tour started along the Rhine River. We eyed the architecture of homes near St. Martin’s Square. The Town Hall, located on the site of the Roman Praetorium, was the seat of the Roman Governor of Germania Inferior until 475. It is Germany’s oldest city hall with a documented history spanning 900 years. The Cologne guilds commissioned the Gothic council tower in 1406 and it was built between 1407 and 1414. A statue in the Heumarkt by Gusatv Blaeser of Frederick William III of Prussia is surrounded by statues of great Prussian reformers. It was damaged during World War II but the tower including many exterior stone figures have been restored. Konrad Adenauer, the first West German chancellor after World War II, was the mayor of Cologne from 1917 until 1933. Dominating the old city skyline is the Dom Cathedral, the largest and finest in the country. Started in 1248, the Cologne Cathedral, sometimes referred to as “the eternal construction site,” was completed in 1880. In 1996, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cologne became a center of medieval pilgrimage after relics of the Three Wise Men were captured from Milan. Cologne also preserves the relics of Saint Ursula and Albertus Magnus. The stained glass windows are a marvel.

Our city tour took a nasty turn when my spouse stumbled on a broken tile in the plaza in front of the Cologne Cathedral. Our guide called for an ambulance. Before it arrived a crew showed up to fix the tiles. They had known about the loose tiles but no warning was placed on them. We waited about 3.5 hours in the emergency room of Krankenhaus der Augustinerinnen. X-rays were taken of both knees, chest, and hand. Fortunately there were no broken bones. The total bill was much less than it would have been in the USA. Accidents happen so quickly. Suddenly one learns how much dependence we have on that bruised left hand. Ouch!

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