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Cologne ( , ; Kölsch language: Kölle ) is Germany's fourth-largest city (after Berlin, Hamburg and Munich), and is the largest city both in the German Federal State of North Rhine-Westphaliamarker and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants. It is one of the oldest cities in Germany, having been founded by the Romans in the year 38 BC.

Cologne lies on the River Rhinemarker. The city's famous Cologne Cathedralmarker (Kölner Dom) is the seat of the Catholic Archbishop of Cologne. The University of Colognemarker (Universität zu Köln) is one of Europe's oldest universities.

Cologne is a major cultural center of the Rhineland and has a vibrant arts scene. Cologne is home to more than 30 museums and hundreds of galleries. Exhibitions range from local ancient Roman archeological sites to contemporary graphics and sculpture. The Cologne Trade Fairmarker hosts a number of trade shows such as Art Cologne, the International Furniture Fair (IMM) and the Photokina. Cologne is also well-known for its celebration of Cologne Carnival, the annual reggae summerjammarker, and the gay/lesbian pride festival Christopher Street Day (CSD).

Within Germany, Cologne is known as an important media center. Several radio and television stations, including Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), RTL and VOX, have their headquarters in the city. Both Pro7 and Sat.1 produce TV shows in Cologne as well. Further, the city hosts the Cologne Comedy Festival, which is considered to be the largest comedy festival in mainland Europe.

Cologne hosted the Catholic World Youth Day 2005 with Pope Benedict XVI.


Cologne is the fourth-largest city in Germany in terms of inhabitants after Berlinmarker, Hamburgmarker and Munichmarker. Officially, the city still has somewhat fewer than a million inhabitants (as of 31 December 2006: 989,766). However, this might change rapidly as the city's registration rules will change in the course of 2007. Cologne is the center of the Cologne/Bonn Regionmarker with around 3 million inhabitants (including the neighboring cities of Bonnmarker, Hürthmarker, Leverkusenmarker, and Bergisch Gladbachmarker).

According to local statistics, in 2006 the population density in the city was 2,528 inhabitants per square kilometer. 31.4 percent of the population has migrated there, and 17.2 percent of Cologne's population is non-German. The largest group, comprising 6.3 percent of the total population, is Turkish. As of September 2007, there are about 120,000 Muslims living in Cologne, mostly of Turkish origin.

In the city the population was spread out with 15.5% under the age of 18, 67.0% from 18 to 64 and 17.4% who were 65 years of age or older.


Cologne is part of the Cologne/Bonn Regionmarker and incorporated as an independent city (Kreisfreie Stadt) under the Gemeindeordnung Nordrhein-Westfalen (GO NRW) (Municipality Code of North Rhine-Westphaliamarker). The city's administration is headed by a mayor (Oberbürgermeister) and three deputy mayors.


Cologne is subdivided into 9 boroughs (Stadtbezirke) and 86 quarters (Stadtteile):
Innenstadt (Stadtbezirk 1)
Altstadt-Nord, Altstadt-Süd, Neustadt-Nord, Neustadt-Süd, Deutzmarker
Rodenkirchenmarker (Stadtbezirk 2)
Bayenthal, Godorf, Hahnwald, Immendorf, Marienburg, Meschenich, Raderberg, Raderthal, Rodenkirchen, Rondorf, Sürth, Weiß, Zollstock
Lindenthalmarker (Stadtbezirk 3)
Braunsfeld, Junkersdorf, Klettenberg, Lindenthal, Lövenich, Müngersdorf, Sülz, Weiden, Widdersdorf
Ehrenfeld (Stadtbezirk 4)
Bickendorf, Bocklemünd/Mengenich, Ehrenfeld, Neuehrenfeld, Ossendorf, Vogelsang
Nippes (Stadtbezirk 5)
Bilderstöckchen, Longerich, Mauenheim, Niehl, Nippes, Riehl, Weidenpesch
Chorweiler (Stadtbezirk 6)
Blumenberg, Chorweiler, Esch/Auweiler, Fühlingen, Heimersdorf, Lindweiler, Merkenich, Pesch, Roggendorf/Thenhoven, Seeberg, Volkhoven/Weiler, Worringen
Porzmarker (Stadtbezirk 7)
Eilmarker, Elsdorf, Ensen, Finkenberg, Gremberghoven, Grengel, Langel, Libur, Lind, Pollmarker, Porz, Urbach, Wahn, Wahnheide, Westhoven, Zündorf
Kalkmarker (Stadtbezirk 8)
Brück, Höhenberg, Humboldt/Gremberg, Kalk, Merheim, Neubrück, Ostheim, Rath/Heumarmarker, Vingst
Mülheimmarker (Stadtbezirk 9)
Buchforst, Buchheim, Dellbrück, Dünnwald, Flittard, Höhenhaus, Holweide, Mülheim, Stammheim


Cologne has several museums of many kinds. The famous Romano-Germanic Museummarker features art and architecture from the city's distant past (also see landmarks). Several orchestras are active in the city, among them the Gürzenich Orchestra and Musica Antiqua Köln, as well as several choirs, including the WDR Rundfunkchor Köln. Cologne was also an important centre of electronic music in the 1950s (Studio für elektronische Musik, Karlheinz Stockhausen) and again from the 90s onward. The public radio and TV station WDR was involved in promoting musical movements such as Krautrock in the 70s. There are several centers of nightlife, among them the Kwartier Latäng (the student quarter around the Zülpicher Straße) and the nightclub-studded areas around the Friesenplatz and Rudolfplatz.

The large annual literary festival Lit.Cologne features regional and international authors. The main literary figure connected to Cologne is writer Heinrich Böll, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Cologne is well-known for its beer, called Kölsch. Kölsch is also the name of the local dialect. This has led to the common joke of Kölsch being the only language one can drink.

Cologne is also famous for Eau de Cologne (Kölnisch Wasser). At the beginning of the 18th century, Italian expatriate Johann Maria Farina created a new fragrance and named it after his hometown Cologne, Eau de Cologne (Water of Cologne). In the course of the 18th century the fragrance became increasingly popular. Eventually, Cologne merchant Wilhelm Mülhens secured the name Farina, which at that time had become a household name for Eau de Cologne, under contract and opened a small factory at Cologne's Glockengasse. In later years, and under pressure from court battles, his grandson Ferdinand Mülhens chose a new name for the firm and their product. It was the house number that was given to the factory at Glockengasse during French occupation of the Rhineland in the early 19th century, number 4711marker. In 1994, the Mülhens family sold their company to German Wella corporation. In 2003 Procter & Gamble took over Wella. Today, original Eau de Cologne still is produced in Cologne by both the Farina family (Farina gegenüber since 1709), currently in the eighth generation, and by Mäurer and Wirtz who bought the 4711 brand in December 2006.


Cologne carnival is one of the biggest street festivals in Europe. In Cologne, the carnival season officially starts on 11 November at 11 minutes past 11 a.m. with the proclamation of the new Carnival Season, and continues until Ash Wednesday. But the so-called "Tolle Tage" (mad days) don't start until Weiberfastnacht (Women's Carnival) or, in dialect, Wieverfastelovend (Thursday before Ash Wednesday), which is the beginning of the street carnival. Hundreds of thousands of visitors flock to Cologne during this time. Generally, around a million people are celebrating in the streets on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday.


Roman Cologne

The first urban settlement on the grounds of what today is the center of Cologne was Oppidum Ubiorum, which was founded in 38 BC by the Ubii, a Germanic tribe. Cologne became acknowledged as a city by the Romans in 50 AD by the name of Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium. Considerable Roman remains can be found in contemporary Cologne, especially near the wharf area, where a notable discovery of a 1900 year old Roman boat was made in late 2007. From 260 to 271 Cologne was the capital of the Gallic Empire under Postumus, Marius and Victorinus. In 310 under Constantine a bridge was built over the Rhine at Cologne.

Maternus, who was elected as bishop in 313, was the first known bishop of Cologne. The city was the capital of a Roman province until occupied by the Franks in 459. In 785, Cologne became the seat of an archbishopric.

Middle Ages

During the time of the Holy Roman Empire in the Middle Ages, the Archbishop of Cologne was one of the seven prince-electors and one of the three ecclesiastical electors. The archbishops had ruled large temporal domains but in 1288 Sigfried II von Westerburg was defeated in the Battle of Worringenmarker and forced into exile at Bonnmarker.

Cologne's location on the river Rhine placed it at the intersection of the major trade routes between east and west and was the basis of Cologne's growth. Cologne was a member of the Hanseatic League and became a Free Imperial City in 1475. Interestingly the archbishop nevertheless preserved the right of capital punishment. Thus, the municipal council (though in strict political opposition towards the archbishop) depended upon him in all matters concerning criminal jurisdiction. This included torture, which sentence was only allowed to be handed down by the episcopal judge, the so-called "Greve". This legal situation lasted until the French conquest of Cologne.

Besides its economic and political significance Cologne also became an outstanding centre of medieval pilgrimage, when Cologne's Archbishop Rainald of Dassel gave the relics of the Three Wise Men to Cologne's cathedral in 1164 (after they in fact had been captured from Milanmarker). Besides the three magi Cologne preserves the relics of Saint Ursula and Albertus Magnus.

The economic structures of medieval and early modern Cologne were characterized by the city's status as a major harbor and transport hub upon the Rhine. Craftsmanship was organized by self-administrating guilds, some of which were exclusive to women.

As a free city Cologne was a sovereign state within the Holy Roman Empire and as such had the right (and obligation) of maintaining its own military force. Wearing a red uniform these troops were known as the Rote Funken (red sparks). These soldiers were part of the Army of the Holy Roman Empire ("Reichskontingent") and fought in the wars of the 17th and 18th century, including the wars against revolutionary France, when the small force almost completely perished in combat. The tradition of these troops is preserved as a military persiflage by Cologne's most outstanding carnival society, the Rote Funken.

The free city of Cologne must not be confused with the Archbishopric of Cologne which was a state of its own within the Holy Roman Empire. Since the second half of the 16th century the archbishops were taken from the Bavarianmarker dynasty Wittelsbach. Due to the free status of Cologne, the archbishops usually were not allowed to enter the city. Thus they took residence in Bonnmarker and later in Brühlmarker on Rhine. As members of an influential and powerful family and supported by their outstanding status as electors, the archbishops of Cologne repeatedly challenged and threatened the free status of Cologne during the 17th and 18th century, resulting in complicated affairs, which were handled by diplomatic means and propaganda as well as by the supreme courts of the Holy Roman Empire.

19th and 20th century

Cologne lost its status as a free city during the French period. According to the Peace Treaty of Lunéville (1801) all the territories of the Holy Roman Empire on the left bank of the Rhine were officially incorporated into the French Republicmarker (which already had occupied Cologne in 1798). Thus, this region later became part of Napoleon's Empire. Cologne was part of the French Département Roermarker (named after the River Roer, German: Rurmarker) with Aachenmarker (Aix-la-Chapelle) as its capital. The French modernized public life, for example by introducing the Napoleonic code and removing the old elites from power. The Napoleonic code remained in use on the left bank of the Rhine until 1900, when a unified civil code (the Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch) was introduced in the German Empiremarker. In 1815, at the Congress of Vienna, Cologne was made part of the Kingdom of Prussiamarker, first in the Jülich-Cleves-Berg provincemarker and then the Rhine provincemarker.

The permanent tensions between the Roman Catholic Rhineland and the overwhelmingly Protestant Prussian state repeatedly escalated with Cologne being in the focus of the conflict. In 1837 the archbishop of Cologne, Clemens August von Droste-Vischering, was arrested and imprisoned for two years after a dispute over the legal status of marriages between Protestants and Roman Catholics (Mischehenstreit). In 1874 during the Kulturkampf, Archbishop Paul Melchers was imprisoned before taking refuge in the Netherlands. These conflicts alienated the Catholic population from Berlin and contributed to a deeply felt anti-Prussian resentment, which was still significant after World War II, when the former mayor of Cologne, Konrad Adenauer, became the first West German chancellor.

During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Cologne absorbed numerous surrounding towns, and by World War I had already grown to 700,000 inhabitants. Industrialization changed the city and spurred its growth. Vehicle and engine manufacturing were especially successful, though heavy industry was less ubiquitous than in the Ruhr area. The cathedralmarker, started in 1248 but abandoned around 1560, was eventually finished in 1880 not just as a place of worship but also as a German national monument celebrating the newly founded German empiremarker and the continuity of the German nation since the Middle Ages. Some of this urban growth happened at the expense of the city's historic heritage with much being demolished (e.g. the city walls or in the area around the cathedral) and sometimes replaced by contemporary constructions. On the other hand, Cologne was turned into a heavily armed fortress (opposing the French and Belgian fortresses of Verdunmarker and Liègemarker) with two fortified belts surrounding the city, the relics of which can be seen to this day. The military demands on what became Germany's largest fortress presented a significant obstacle to urban development, with forts, bunkers and wide defensive dugouts completely encircling the city and preventing expansion; this resulted in a very dense built-up area within the city itself.

After WWI, during which several minor air raids had targeted the city, Cologne was occupied by British Forces until 1926 under the terms of the armistice and the subsequent Versailles Peace Treaty. In contrast to the harsh measures of French occupation troops in the Rhineland, the British acted with more tact towards the local population. The mayor of Cologne (the future West German chancellor) Konrad Adenauer acknowledged the political significance of this approach, as the British opposed French plans for a permanent Allied occupation of the Rhineland. In 1919 the University of Colognemarker (closed by the French in 1798) was refounded. It was meant as a substitute for the German University of Strasbourg that had become French in 1918-19. During the Weimar Republicmarker (1919–1933) Cologne prospered under the guidance of Mayor Adenauer, with improvements especially in public governance, housing, planning and social affairs. Large public parks were created, in particular the two Grüngürtel (green belts), which were planned on the areas of the former fortifications, which had to be dismantled as part of the de-militarization of the Rhineland imposed by the peace treaty (this project was not completed until 1933). New social housing was held up as an example for other German cities. As Cologne competed for hosting the Olympics a modern stadium was erected in Müngersdorf. By the end of the British occupation, German civil aviation was readmitted over Cologne and the airport of Butzweilerhof soon became a hub for national and international air traffic, second in Germany only to Berlin-Tempelhofmarker. By 1939 the population had risen to 772,221. Compared to other major cities the Nazis did not gain decisive support in Cologne and the number of votes cast for the NSDAP in Reichstag elections was always below the national average.

World War II

During World War II, Cologne was a Military Area Command Headquarters (Militärbereichshauptkommandoquartier) for Military District (Wehrkreis) VI in Münstermarker. Cologne was under the command of Lieutenant-General Freiherr Roeder von Diersburg, who was responsible for military operations at Bonnmarker, Siegburgmarker, Aachenmarker, Jülichmarker, Dürenmarker, and Monschaumarker. Cologne was the Home Station for the 211th Infantry Regiment and the 26th Artillery Regiment.

Devastation of Cologne in 1945

In World War II, Cologne endured 262 air raids by the Western Allies, which caused approximately 20,000 civilian casualties and almost completely wiped out the center of the city. During the night of 31 May 1942, Cologne was the site of "Operation Millennium", the first 1,000 bomber raid by the Royal Air Force in World War II. 1,046 heavy bombers attacked their target with 1,455 tons of explosives. This raid lasted about 75 minutes, destroyed of built-up area, killed 486 civilians and made 59,000 people homeless. By the end of the war, the population of Cologne was reduced by 95%. This loss was mainly caused by a massive evacuation of the people to more rural areas. The same happened in many other German cities in the last two years of war. At the end of 1945, the population had already risen to about 500,000 again.

By that time, essentially all of Cologne's pre-war Jewish population of 20,000 had been deported or killed. The six synagogues of the city were destroyed. The synagogue on Roonstraße has been rebuilt.

Post-war Cologne

Despite Cologne's status of being the largest city in the region, nearby Düsseldorfmarker was chosen as the political capital of the Federal State North Rhine-Westphaliamarker. With Bonnmarker being chosen as the provisional capital (provisorische Bundeshauptstadt) and seat of the government of the Federal Republic of Germany, Cologne benefited by being sandwiched between the two important political centers of the former West Germanymarker. The city became home to a large number of Federal agencies and organizations. After re-unification in 1990 Berlinmarker was made the Federal capital of Germany.

In 1945 architect and urban planner Rudolf Schwarz called Cologne the "world's greatest heap of debris". Schwarz designed the master plan of reconstruction in 1947, which called for the construction of several new thoroughfares through the downtown area, especially the Nord-Süd-Fahrt ("North-South-Drive"). The masterplan took into consideration the fact that even shortly after the war a large increase in automobile traffic could be anticipated. Plans for new roads had already to a certain degree evolved under the Nazi administration, but the actual construction became easier in times when the majority of downtown lots were undeveloped. The destruction of famous Romanesque churches like St. Gereon, Great St. Martinmarker, St. Maria im Capitol and about a dozen others in World War II meant a tremendous loss of cultural substance to the city. The rebuilding of those churches and other landmarks like the Gürzenich event hall was not undisputed among leading architects and art historians at that time, but in most cases, civil intention prevailed. The reconstruction lasted until the 1990s, when the Romanesque church of St. Kunibert was finished.

It took some time to rebuild the city. In 1959 the city's population reached pre-war numbers again. It then grew steadily, exceeding 1 million for about one year from 1975. It has remained just below that since.

In the 1980s and 1990s Cologne's economy prospered for two main reasons. Firstly, a growth in the number of media companies, both in the private and public sectors; they are especially catered for in the newly-developed Media Park, which creates a strongly visual focal point in down-town Cologne and includes the KölnTurm, one of Cologne's most prominent high-rises. Secondly, a permanent improvement of the diverse traffic infrastructure made Cologne one of the most easily accessible metropolitan areas in Central Europe.

Due to the economic success of the Cologne Trade Fairmarker, the city arranged a large extension to the fair site in 2005. At the same time the original buildings, which date back to the 1920s are rented out to RTL, Germany's largest private broadcaster, as their new corporate headquarters.

Floods and flood protection

The 1930 flood in Cologne
The 1983 flood in Cologne
Cologne is regularly affected by flooding from the Rhine and is considered the most flood-prone European city. A city agency (Stadtentwässerungsbetriebe Köln) manages an extensive flood control system which includes both permanent and mobile flood walls, protection from rising waters for buildings close to the river banks, monitoring and forecasting systems, pumping stations and programs to create or protect floodplains and river embankments. The system was redesigned after a 1993 flood which resulted in heavy damages.


The center of Cologne was completely destroyed during World War II. The reconstruction of the city followed the style of the 1950s, while respecting the old layout and naming of the streets. Thus, the city today is characterized by simple and modest post-war buildings, with few interspersed pre-war buildings which were reconstructed due to their historical importance. Some buildings of the "Wiederaufbauzeit" (era of reconstruction), for example the opera house by Wilhelm Riphahn, are nowadays regarded as classics in modern architecture. Nevertheless, the uncompromising style of the opera house and other modern buildings has remained controversial.

  • Cologne Cathedralmarker (German: Kölner Dom) is the city's famous landmark and unofficial symbol. It is a Gothic church, started in 1248, and completed in 1880. In 1996, it was designated a World Heritage site; it houses the Shrine of the Three Holy Kings that supposedly contains the relics of the Three Magi (see also ). Residents of Cologne sometimes refer to the cathedral as "the eternal construction site" (Dauerbaustelle).
  • Twelve Romanesque Churches: These buildings are outstanding examples of medieval sacral architecture. The roots of some of the churches date back as far as Roman times, like St. Gereon, which originally was a chapel on a Roman graveyard. With the exception of St. Maria Lyskirchen all of these churches were very badly damaged during World War II. Reconstruction was only finished in the 1990s.
  • Cologne Universitymarker, with approx. 44,000 students as of 2005, is the largest university in Germany.
  • Farina Fragrance museummarker, the birthplace of Eau de Cologne.
  • Römisch-Germanisches Museummarker (English: Roman-Germanic Museum) for ancient Roman and Germanic culture.
  • Wallraf-Richartz Museummarker for European painting from the 13th to the early 20th century.
  • Museum Ludwigmarker for modern art.
  • Museum Schnütgen for medieval art.
  • Kolumba Kunstmuseum des Erzbistums Köln (Art museum of the archbishopric of Cologne), modern art museum built around medieval ruins, completed 2007.
  • EL-DE Hausmarker, the former local headquarters of the Gestapomarker houses a museum documenting the Nazi rule in Cologne with a special focus on the persecution of political dissenters and minorities.
  • Kölner Philharmonie - the Cologne Philharmonic Orchestra Building housing both the Gürzenich Orchestra and the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne.
  • RheinEnergieStadionmarker, the major Cologne stadium, primarily used for soccer games, seating 50,997 visitors in national games and 46,134 in international games, home to the local first division (Bundesliga) team, 1.FC Köln.
  • Lanxess Arenamarker (formerly known as Kölnarena), a multifunctional event hall, home to the local ice hockey team, the Kölner Haie (English: Cologne Sharks).
  • Kölnturm (English: Cologne Tower), Cologne's second tallest building at in height, second only to the Colonius ( ).
  • Coloniusmarker - a telecommunication tower with an observation deck (closed since 1992).
  • Colonia Hochhaus - Germany's tallest residential building.
  • Köln Triangle Tower - opposite the cathedral with a high viewing platform - in contrast to the cathedral with an elevator and a view with the cathedral over the Rhine.
  • Hansa Hochhaus - designed by architect Jakob Koerfer and completed in 1925, it was at one time Europe's tallest office building.
  • Rheinseilbahnmarker - an aerial tramway crossing the Rhinemarker.
  • Messe Köln (English: Cologne Fair). Exhibition area of .
  • Messeturm Kölnmarker (English: Exhibition Tower Cologne).
  • Hohe Strasse (English: High Street) is one of the main shopping areas and extends past the cathedral in an approximately southerly direction. This street is particularly popular with tourists and contains many gift shops, clothing stores, fast food restaurants and electronic goods dealers.
  • Ford-Werke AG plants, assembling the Ford Fiesta and Ford Fusion as well as manufacturing engines and parts; headquarters for Ford of Europe.
  • The Panasonic Toyota Racing Formula One team has its factory in the city.
  • Schildergasse - extends the shopping area of Hohe Strasse to the west ending at Neumarkt.
  • Ehrenstrasse - the shopping area around Apostelnstrasse, Ehrenstrasse, and Rudolfplatz is a little more on the eccentric and stylish side.
  • Historic Ringe boulevards (such as Hohenzollernring, Kaiser-Wilhelm-Ring, Hansaring) with their medieval city gates (such as Hahnentorburg on Rudolfplatz) are also known for their night life.
  • German Sports & Olympic Museum, with exhibitions about sports from antiquity until the present.
  • Chocolatemuseum officially called Imhoff-Schokoladenmuseummarker.
  • JavaMuseum - Forum for Internet Technology in Contemporary Art - collections of Internet based art, corporate part of (NewMediaArtProjectNetwork):cologne - the experimental platform for art and New Media.
  • Flora und Botanischer Garten Kölnmarker, the city's formal park and main botanical garden
  • Forstbotanischer Garten Kölnmarker, an arboretum and woodland botanical garden


Lufthansamarker, the German flag carrier, has its main corporate headquarters in Cologne. Lufthansa CityLine, a Lufthansa subsidiary, also has its main offices in Cologne.

Ford has its European headquarters and a factory in the city.



Major roads through and around Cologne.
Road building had been a major issue in the 1920s under the leadership of mayor Konrad Adenauer. The first German limited access road was constructed after 1929 between Cologne and Bonnmarker. Today, this is A 555. In 1965 Cologne became the first German city to be fully encircled by a freeway belt. Roughly at the same time a downtown bypass freeway (Stadtautobahn) was planned, but only partially executed, due to opposition by environmental groups. The completed section became Bundesstraße ("Federal Road") B 55a which begins at the Zoobrücke ("Zoo Bridge") and meets with A 4 and A 3 at the interchange Cologne East. Nevertheless, it is referred to as Stadtautobahn by most locals. Fully accomplished in contrast was the Nord-Süd-Fahrt ("North-South-Drive"), a new four/six lane downtown thoroughfare, which had already been anticipated by planners like Fritz Schumacher in the 1920s. The last section south of Ebertplatz was completed in 1972.

In 2005 the first stretch of an eight-lane freeway in North Rhine-Westphaliamarker was opened to traffic on Bundesautobahn 3, part of the eastern section of the freeway belt between the interchanges Cologne East and Heumar.

Public transport

Cologne has a railway service with Deutsche Bahn Intercity and ICE-trains stopping at Köln Hauptbahnhofmarker (Cologne Central Station), Köln-Deutzmarker station and at Cologne Bonn Airportmarker (Konrad-Adenauer-Flughafen).ICE and Thalys high-speed trains link Cologne with Amsterdammarker, Brusselsmarker (in 2h16, 6 departures/day) and Parismarker(in 3h51, 6 departures/day.There are frequent ICE trains to other German cities, including Frankfurt am Mainmarker and Berlinmarker.

The Cologne city railwayoperated by Kölner Verkehrsbetriebe (KVB) is an extensive light railsystem that is partially underground (referred to as U-Bahn) and serves Cologne and a number of neighboring cities. Nearby Bonnmarker is linked by both the city railway and Deutsche Bahn trains, and occasional recreational boats on the Rhinemarker.Düsseldorfmarker is also linked by S-Bahn trains which are operated by Deutsche Bahn.

There are also frequent buses covering most of the city and surrounding suburbs, and Eurolines coaches to Londonmarker via Brusselsmarker.


Like most German cities, Cologne has a traffic layout designed to be bicycle-friendly. There is an extensive cycle network, featuring pavement-edge cycle lanes linked by cycle priority crossings. In some of the narrow one-way central streets, cyclists are explicitly allowed to cycle both ways.

Air transport

Cologne's international airport is Cologne Bonn Airportmarker (CGN).It is also called Konrad Adenauer Airport after Germany's post-war Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, who was born in Cologne and was mayor of the city from 1917 until 1933. The airport is shared with the neighbouring city of Bonnmarker.The headquarters of the European Aviation Safety Agency(EASA) is based in the city.


A 2006 FIFA World Cup venue, The RheinEnergieStadionmarker, hosts both the city's football team "1.FC Köln" which competes in the Bundesliga, and the American footballCologne Centurionswho played in the now defunct NFL Europa.

The city is also home of the ice hockey team Kölner Haie(Cologne Sharks), in the highest ice hockey league in Germany, the DEL. They are based at the Lanxess Arenamarker.Cologne's basketball team "Köln 99ers" competes in the Basketball Bundesliga.

An annual Cologne Marathonwas started in 1997.

Coat of arms

The three crowns symbolize the Magi(Three Wise Men) whose bones are said to be kept in a golden sarcophagusin Cologne Cathedral (see Shrine of the Three Kings at Cologne Cathedral). In 1164, Rainald of Dassel, the archbishop of Cologne, brought the relicsto the city, making it a major pilgrimagedestination. This led to the design of the current cathedral as the predecessor was considered too small to accommodate the pilgrims.

The eleven tears are a reminder of Cologne's patron, Saint Ursula, a Britannic princess, and her legendary 11,000 virgin companions who were supposedly martyred by Attila the Hunat Cologne for their Christian faithin 383. The entourage of Ursula and the number of victims was significantly smaller; according to one source, the original legend referred to only eleven companions and the number was later inflated by relic traders.


International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Cologne is "twinned" with the following cities:

Born in Cologne

Notable people, whose roots can be found in Cologne:


  1. Cologne Evacuated, TIME Magazine, February 15, 1926
  2. " Contact." Lufthansa CityLine. Retrieved on 26 May 2009.

External links

Cologne, tram line station Ehrenfeldgürtel/Nußbaumerstraße

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