COLOGNE – Right in the Middle
Founded by the Romans,
"Colonia" – today's Cologne, the oldest city in Germany
– is still characterized by its 2000 year history. With a population
of just over one million, it is also the fourth-largest city in
Germany. And it is one of the most important crossroads in Western
Europe, where its central location on the river Rhine still ensures
that commerce and industry continue to flourish in this international
trade fair centre.
All the high-speed trains
stop here, whether Thalys/Eurostar, Metropolitan or City Night
Express. With ICE high speed train the Frankfurt-airport
can be reached in 55 minutes. Airport Cologne/Bonn and the
nearby Dusseldorf-Airport provide worldwide connections with over
200 destinations. Most of the new low cost carriers start from here.
As an international trade fair and conference centre
with over 250 hotels and nearly 22 000 beds, Cologne is always ready
to welcome its visitors.
The Cologne Trade Fair
Centre KölnMesse serving for 25 industries with its
pilot fairs is the number one among the trade fairs venues. Every
year over 30,000 exhibitors and 1.4 million visitors from 170 countries
to attend the roughly 50 trade fairs and exhibitions. The best
known exhibitions include Photokina, Anuga, Orgatec, Furniture Fair,
Domotechnika, and Art Cologne.
KölnMesse (© Günther
Cathedral (© Inge Decker)
is also known as the "Media and communications city"
thanks to its unique blend of art, culture and creativity forming
an ideal basis for media and broadcasting companies. No fewer than
eleven broadcasting companies are domiciled in Cologne, including
WDR – Westdeutscher Rundfunk – the largest in Europe.
It is also a centre of
excellence for research and academia. 85,000 students are enrolled
at Cologne University and the city's various colleges.
The Gothic cathedral
with its characteristic spires is Cologne's landmark and
houses the golden Shrine of the Three Magi, as well
as numerous other precious reliquaries. The cathedral is encircled
by twelve Romanesque churches, truly outstanding examples
of Medieval church architecture.
Almost all the sights
worth seeing can be reached on foot from the 750 year old cathedral,
which was declared a World Heritage Site in 1998.
These include museums
of worldwide importance, such as the Museum Ludwig for modern
art, the Roman-Germanic-Museum, the Diocesan museum
the "mother" of all Cologne museums, transferred recently
to a new building between the City Hall and Gürzenich Hall and owns
the Fondation Corboud collection of impressionists.
Museum Ludwig (© Walter
Architects: Busmann und Haberer
museum, the Imhoff-Stollwerck Chocolate Museum, is only a
short distance away, on a peninsula in the Rhine. Neighbour is the
German Sports and Olympic Museum, both are active
places and of interest for youngsters.
The old part of the city
and the Rhine Garden with mooring quays, the historical City Hall,
Pretorium (palace of the Roman city governor), Mikwe (Jewish bathhouse)
and Gürzenich Hall are likewise located within view of the cathedral
Entertainment is provided
by the Philharmonie, Opera House, theatres, cabarets, musicals and
the pop scene.
Kölnarena (© Günther
The Pop Music Festival
on the Ring Promenade attracts about 2 million visitors
every year in August and is the largest pop spectacle in the world.
Cologners and visitors
enjoy the the full range of concerts at the Philharmonie,
which has become the very centre of Cologne's highly varied music
The new Kölnarena
with seating for 18,000 is Germany's largest and most attractive
multi-purpose hall. Since its inauguration in 1998, the elegant
building has turned Cologne into an absolute Must for such stars
as Luciano Pavarotti, Elton John, Rod Stewart. Basket ball, hand
ball and the ice hockey matches with Cologne's local team, the
„Kölner Haie“ („Cologne Sharks“) are the absolute favourites.
Shopping malls, passages
and galleries are also becoming increasingly popular in Cologne.
The most recent are the Neumarkt-Galerie and the Opernpassage.
The range of culinary highlights extends from breweries
of Cologne's speciality "Kölsch", the famous "Halver
Hahn" and the waiters known as "Köbes" to Dieter
Müller, the 3-Star chef at Schloss Lerbach.
The attractions for leisure
and entertainment are many and varied: Zoo, Flora, the Botanical
Gardens, the Rhinepark with dance fountain, the green belt, the
cablecar across the Rhine and excursions up or down the Rhine by
Altstadt (© Günther
Carnival (© Inge Decker)
Six Christmas markets
attract visitors to Cologne every year in December. Each has its
own distinctive flair and a separate programme.
Carnival in Cologne,
the "fifth season" with Rose Monday as the climax, is
famous throughout the world. Every year, more than a million people
line the streets of Cologne to watch the Rose Monday Procession
with the three stars Prince, Knave and Virgin.
The people of Cologne
are always merry and relaxed, not just during the world-famous carnival
season. Their straightforward jovial way of life attracts visitors
to the city from around the world throughout the entire year.