The Oldest City in Germany

By: Douglas Scott

Cologne is the oldest major German cities and still characterized by its 2000 years of history. Cologne has just over one million inhabitants and is the fourth-largest city in Germany. It lies on the Rhine. The centre of the city was completely destroyed during World War Two. It is a favourite throughout Europe as a conference venue, hosting conventions covering every thing from heavy engineering to popular music.

The main shopping streets are along the Hohe Strasse a pedestrian shopping street with several nice 19th Century buildings. The pedestrian areas in the main part of the city are even packed with window shoppers during the evening.

Eau de cologne was invented here in 1709 and is still produced in the city. The city's most famous product is Eau de Cologne with two shops worth noting. The 4711-Haus at Glockengasse 4711 has the more famous name but the Farina-Haus, opposite the town hall at Obenmarspforten 21, is where Eau de Cologne originated in 1709.

The Fischmarkt is located on the bank of the Rhine and contains a variety of bars and restaurants where you can enjoy a cold Kolsch at any time of the day. Night clubs and style bars are dispersed around the town in the Altstadt around Buttermarkt and Salzgasse area. The city is well-known for its beer, called Kolsch. Kolsch is also the name of the local dialect.

The city is home to over 80.000 students and the second largest gay community of the world after San Francisco.

The people of Cologne are always merry and relaxed, not just during the world-famous carnival season.

It is best to come to Cologne in December when the colourful and vibrant Christmas markets use the Dom as a dramatic backdrop and bring it to life.

The Gothic cathedral St. Peter and Mary has been a World Heritage Site since 1998 with its characteristic spires and is Cologne's landmark. It houses the golden Shrine of the Three Magi, as well as numerous other outstanding art treasures.

The Ludwig Museum is Cologne's oldest museum was founded in the 19th century to exhibit works by local artists of the Gothic period and has been extended into a collection that spans the 14th to the 20th century. The Wallraf-Richartz collection encompasses every school from German, Dutch and Flemish masters to French Impressionism, as well as the 'Ludwig Donation' of American art of the mid-20th century.

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