Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) in Germany

There are many cathedrals in Europe that were built in the gothic architecture and the Cologne Cathedral in Germany is definitely one of the more stunning examples. To say that the cathedral dominates the skyline of Cologne would be an understatement as it is clearly the focal point from wherever you are standing. If you enter or pass through Cologne via the train, you certainly can’t miss the cathedral as it is literally a few hundred meters from the train station. It is the tallest twin-spire church in Europe and draws thousands of visitors from around the world on an annual basis.

Beautiful Gothic Architecture
Amazing Details
Looking Up at the One of the Spires

The cathedral was undergoing renovations at the time of our visit as the stones of the church had turned black over time, but are now being renewed to their original luster. The details of façade are overwhelming as there are so many interesting features to see as you walk the grounds of the cathedral. Although the city has put height restrictions in place to ensure that the cathedral remains the highest structure in the area, the Museum Ludwig sits very near the cathedral. It is a strange juxtaposition between the historic cathedral and the modern buildings that house contemporary art.

Cathedral and Museum
Dominating the Skyline
So Much to See

Construction began on the cathedral in 1248, but was not fully completed until 1880. There was no work done on the cathedral between the late 15th century and the 19th century, but when construction resumed, it was completed based upon the original plans. It is currently a UNESCO World Heritage site and certainly one of the most magnificent cathedrals in all of Europe. During the evenings, the sides of church are lit up so that it virtually glows against the night sky.

Cathedral at Night
Lit Up Against the Black Sky
Looking Up at the Cathedral

There are many reasons to visit Cologne with its medieval old town, museums, and waterfront district, but the Cologne Cathedral or Kölner Dom is most certainly the highlight of any visit. Viewing the gothic architecture, the stained glass windows, and impressive buttresses is something that you will never forget. The Cologne Cathedral is certainly one of the finest examples of a medieval church to be found anywhere in the world.

So Many Amazing Windows
Main Entrance to the Cathedral
Gothic Details

Heinzelmännchen Fountain in Cologne, Germany

One of the interesting sights to see when visiting Cologne is the Heinzelmännchen fountain. The Heinzelmännchen are actually supposed to be little gnome creatures that come out at night to do all of the work of the citizens of Cologne, allowing them to be lazy during the day. The gnomes would disappear before anyone awoke, but the wife of a tailor was curious to see what they looked like. She apparently spread peas on the ground in the workshop to make the gnomes slip and fall. The gnomes got so mad that they left, never to return again and the people of Cologne had to do all of their own work once again.

Gnomes Hard at Work

Full View of the Fountain

IMGP0424_adjustedIt is an interesting story and the Heinzelmännchen fountain was created with plaques along the wall to tell the story of the gnomes and the tailor’s wife. The legend was first written down in the 1800’s and the fountain was built in 1899. One of our first stops when we visited Cologne was to the Früh Brewery and the Heinzelmännchen fountain with all of the carvings is located in the square outside of the brewery. Certainly fun to see after a couple of local beers.

Sleeping While the Gnomes Work


The Tailor’s Wife

According to what we’ve read, the story roughly translates to: “Once upon a time in Cologne, how comfortable it was with the Heinzelmen! For if you were lazy, … you just lay down on your bench and took care of yourself. Then at night, before one knew it, came the little men and swarmed and clattered and rattled and plucked and picked and jumped and trotted and cleaned and scoured –and even before a lazy bum awoke, all his daily work was … already done! …”

Doing the Work of the Butcher

Having Drinks in Brewery

View of the Wall

We love seeing some of these fables as they remind us of our history and culture and also to keep our childlike wonder of the world. We were in Cologne in November, so the fountain wasn’t running, but that didn’t make any less fascinating. It may not be on the top of your list of sights to see when visiting Cologne, but it was a great start to our short time there.

Another Citizen of Cologne Happily Sleeping

Even the Gnomes Enjoyed Some Beer


Unique KölnTriangle Tower in Cologne, Germany

When visiting Cologne (Köln), if you want amazing views of the city and cathedral, going to the observation deck of the KölnTriangle is an absolute must. The building sits just across the Hohenzollern Bridge, which spans the Rhine River. The glass tower is clearly visible as you walk along the shore of the river with the sides of the building reflecting the surroundings. It is an easy walk across the bridge with all of the locks, passing the statue of Wilhelm II, to get to the KölnTriangle.

Cathedral and the Rhine River

Colorful Trees and Cloudy Skies

Statue of Wilhelm II

Old Town Cologne

Without a doubt, the reason for going to the top of the tower is to see the panoramic views of the city. The cathedral is certainly the star of the view, but as you look around in all directions, there are amazing views everywhere that you look. Even on a cloudy day, such as the day that we visited, seeing the incredible cityscape was a highlight of our time in Cologne.

Close-Up of the Cahedral

Looking Away from Downtown Colgne

Looking Down the River

Crossing the Bridge

Even if you decide not to go to tower and see the views from the observation deck, the building itself is architecturally interesting. It is named the triangle due to the three convex sides that surround a circular core. The sides of the building are made up of transparent glass and aluminum sides, which makes up the reflective surface. It only takes an hour or so to go to the observation deck at the KölnTriangle, so we would definitely recommend taking the time as you will definitely be rewarded.

Walking Toward the Tower

Buildings Along the Rhine

Looking Down from the Observation Deck

View from the Bridge