Visiting L 76 9

Cologne is right next to the area where I grew up as a child and teenager. Naturally I have been there quite often. This makes it again difficult to talk about the one thing that left an impression. Obviously for a “chocoholic” like me the Chocolate Museum is always a great place to go. The museums in general are great. Walking along the Rhine always has its charm.

The Rhine going from left to the background, view across the city
View across Cologne

Great childhood memories

The best memories regarding Cologne are still from my early childhood. Before the internet and private tv with constant advertisement were common, my dad used to take me to Cologne before Christmas to visit some toy stores. I don’t remember the toys as such, but the decorations and the lights, and the excitement.

My dad always invented stories for me. The last time we drove to Cologne around Christmas we continued a story together: a little fly going to the moon in the helmet of an astronaut. I should have recorded all those stories back then.

Cologne Cathedral

Ok, would be hard to have a post on Cologne without mentioning the cathedral. It is an impressive building. I had been there a lot of times. Still I need to admin that I didn’t pay close attention to some of its specialties.

Side of Cologne cathedral, two towers to the left

I found out about the Shrine of the Three Kings when I read a murder mystery book. The central part in there was the theft of their bones. I was like, “is there really some kind of shrine of the Three Kings in the cathedral?” Yes, there is. A really big one. Very golden. Very hard to miss. Well, for me it was just some golden box because there is no information post next to it. So I never knew, what I was looking at. I also missed out on the fact that the whole cathedral had been built for those relicts. One of the problems if you live too close.

Golden shrine behind glas, two levels, each level with golden figures
The shrine, a great piece of ancient art

In a side room they had a small exhibition about Christian anti-Semitism. I know that it is not uncommon to find anti-Semitic figures, etc. in churches. But usually they are rather old. One of the very sad insights for me was that anti-Semitism made its way into the colorful windows of the Cologne Cathedral even after WWII. The so called Childrens Window depicts children in various situations and was finished in 1965. In one scenery the treason of Judas is shown. The men here are depicted in the way that Jews used to be depicted in Nazi propaganda. Right next to it is a picture of a mother who flees with her children from an air raid. Both combined lead to the narrative that the bombings of the war are the result of a Jewish treason. In the 1960s. In Germany.

Colored window with different segments, fully shown are three segments with figures
Judas on the left and in the middle, bombing on the right

Just exploring

Typically you don’t visit the cities next to you like you would do as a tourist. Most of the time you have a specific reason to go there. This time I went to Cologne just like a tourist and roamed around a lot more. This way I found some churches I haven’t been aware of before. Some just with their walls left, some with wonderful paintings.

Modern buildings to the left and the right, brick walls in the middle with no windows, can see more brick walls behind them
Remains of Old St Albans, only the walls are left
Colorful ceiling with blue, red, and yellow church paintings
Ceiling frescoes of the church St. Mary, from around 1250

Or you stumble upon the only remaining patrician’s house from the Romanesque period.

Brick building, multiple stories, stair like structure at the top getting more narrow
The Overstolzenhaus, built around 1230

It was real fun to see the city with fresh eyes.

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