You can visit one of Europe’s most iconic Gothic cathedrals, and here’s how


Germany is home to one of the most recognizable and iconic cathedrals in the whole world, and visiting it is worth the wait.

Cologne Cathedral is without a doubt one of the most amazing and famous cathedrals in the world. He is known in German as “Cologne Dom“but is officially called”Hohe Domkirche Sankt Petrus“(St. Peter’s Cathedral). Today it remains a Catholic cathedral in Cologne as the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne.

While most of the city of Cologne was destroyed around it during World War II, the cathedral has managed to stand still preserving a piece of the city’s rich history. It is an acclaimed monument of German Catholicism and Gothic architecture and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.


History of Cologne Cathedral

Cologne Cathedral is the definition of superlatives. The previous building here was not deemed impressive enough to house the remains of the Three Magi (the wise men or three kings of the Bible who visited the baby Jesus carrying gifts). These relics had been purchased by Archbishop Rainald von Dassel in Cologne from Milan (Milan had been conquered in 1164). Because of these relics, the cathedral quickly became one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Europe.

As a monumental undertaking, it took forever to complete. Construction began in 1248 but was halted for years around 1560 and remained unfinished. It was not until the 1840s that work resumed and was not completed according to the original medieval plan until 1880.

  • Built: From 1248 to 1880
  • 632: Number of years to complete

When it was first designed it was built as a place of worship for the Holy Roman Emperor, when it was completed 632 years later the Holy Roman Empire was only a distant memory and it was then the German Empire.

During World War II, the cathedral suffered fourteen air bombs. The cathedral was badly damaged but managed to stand while the rest of the city around it was completely flattened.

  • World War II: Hit fourteen times by air bombs

Near the cathedral was also an intense tank battle between American tanks of the 3rd Armored Division and a Panther Ausf. A. While the Panther was able to destroy a Sherman, he was in turn knocked out three hours later by a Pershing tank.

The war damage to the cathedral was completed in 1956. Yet various parts of the structure are in an almost constant state of repair and restoration in one form or another today due to the natural wear and tear of the wind. , rain and pollution.

Related: Everything You Need To Know About Notre Dame & When You Can See It Again

Cologne Cathedral today

Today it is the most visited monument in all of Germany with an impressive 20,000 people visiting it daily.

  • Visitors: 20,000 per day
  • Height: 157 meters or 515 feet
  • Registered: As a UNESCO World Heritage Site

It is the second tallest church in Europe (the tallest church is Ulm Cathedral also in Germany). Soon it will become the third largest with the construction of the Sagrada Familia. It is the tallest twin-spire church in the world (Ulm Cathedral has a single spire). The most massive towers make up the tallest facade of any church in the world and are truly an awe-inspiring sight to behold.

For those visiting Barcelona in Spain, the Sagrada Familia is a truly impressive cathedral open to the public. He is destined to become the tallest in the world.

  • Fun fact: The north tower is 7 cm (2 inches) taller than the south tower
  • Capacity: 20,000 people

Related: This Historic Cathedral May Just Be Mexico City’s Most Impressive Building

Visit of the cathedral

  • Hours: The cathedral is open every day from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Tourist visits: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays today Saturdays and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays
  • Appointment: Access to the cathedral is by appointment only (reservations on site and not bookable in advance)
  • Admission fee: Entrance to the cathedral is free

For those who would like to worship and attend Catholic Mass. According to his website, his masses are held at:

  • Working days : 6.30 p.m., 7.15 p.m., 8 a.m., 9 a.m., 6.30 p.m. (Devotions at 6 p.m. from Monday to Friday)
  • Sundays: 7 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m. Divine office at 6 p.m.

Guided tours

All Cologne Cathedral tours must be registered in advance, and only authorized cathedral tour guides are permitted to conduct tours inside the cathedral. You have to book at Köln Tourismus or DOMFORUM.

Individual visitors can visit the cathedral on their own outside of mass hours. There is a limit of 10 hours maximum per hour, and a maximum of 25 people were on tour.

  • To note: Due to the pandemic, all guided tours are canceled until further notice

As you visit Cologne, you’ll see how easily the cathedral continues to dominate the city. It is as impressive from an architectural point of view as it is historically. He survived the most destructive war in history and continues to rule the city and be proud of it.

Next: Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia pays 136 years fine for not having a building permit


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