Thursday, June 23, 2011

Germany - Day 5 Part I - Koln

I am back in the blogging business again after a number of enjoyable events and mini-adventures interrupted the Germany postings. Eventually, these interruption will turn into posts, but I wanted to keep the Germany posts in order before going on to another topic.

Today, we are taking a tour of Koln. The English name of the city would be Cologne. As I have mentioned in the past, I see no reason to change the good name given to a city by its county simply to use a possibly more familiar English name.

In the photos below, we are in the very large central square at the Cathedral of Koln. The Dom Hotel is world famous.

The Cathedral is massive. It is intimidating in its size. It seems to swallow the sky. I was stunned when I first saw it as we emerged from the parking garage. I have seen other larger buildings but this one just looks bigger than anything else when you stand in front of it. In fact, this is the 16th largest church in the world based on it's plan size (square footage covered). It is the second tallest church after the Cathedral of Ulm which is also in Germany. The stat that caused me to feel the way I did was that this church has the most massive facade of any in the world. Talk about feeling humble.

The architectural details of the building just never seem to end. Every square foot of surface is covered with some kind of ornate sculpturing.

I stitched two shots together here to try and capture the entire building. My wide angle lens wasn't wide enough for one photo and I couldn't back far enough away from the Cathedral without getting all kinds of other junk in the photo.

If you look carefully, there is scaffolding erected on the left spire. I am not particularly afraid of heights, but I would pass on working on this building.

The church construction began in 1248 and was not completed until 1880. How they built a structure like this without modern equipment, I do not know. The Cathedral was hit 70 or so times with bombs during WWII and suffered damage, but stood up surprisingly well. The church was used as a navigational aid by the allied forces because of its size and was purposely avoided during bombing runs so as not to lose it as a landmark. The last WWII damage was repaired in 2007 when a large stained glass window was finally replaced.

Notice how small the people look at the base of the building. It is hard to fully appreciate just how big the Cathedral is with these photos.

Ornate doesn't seem to be an adequate word to describe the details of the structure.

This is one of the "little" architectural items on the church that is displayed on the ground so you can get an idea of the scale involved. If you look closely at the photos, you can see a number of these about mid-way up the church. On the church, they look like small "ginger bread" decoration.

Some of the other building surrounding the church square.

Sigrid is still a fair distance from the massive church door.

A tour train. We took the open top bus tour of the city. Unfortunately, the bus had plastic barriers that were very tall on the upper deck and taking good photos as the bus drove was impossible.

It was a little hot on the bus tour without a roof. After we got back we had to rest a bit and quench our thirsts.

With the German drink of choice....bier.

The train station in Koln. Germany and the rest of Europe have a great system to trains and buses to get people around.

In the next post, we will explore in inside of the Cathedral.

No comments:

Post a Comment