Cologne Cathedral: Gothic, Imposing and Free

Cologne is our Destination of the Month for January 2013 at

Today, step into my shoes as we are visiting Cologne’s magnificent cathedral…

Cologne Cathedral

The almost-black, Gothic cathedral is the first thing that hits your eyes when you walk out of the train station in Cologne after just having arrived from the airport. And boy is it huge!

Köln Cathedral

Building Cologne Cathedral

Since 1164 Cologne Cathedral, or Kölner Dom, has been the official church of the Archbishop of Cologne, though the church that stands on the site today was not started until 1248 after they decided to pull down the original building that had been there since 890, in order to construct a much bigger place of worship to match the importance of the area.

Building work continued until 1530 until lack of funds and a general lack of interested brought the works to a halt and the nave had to be covered with a makeshift roof.

In 1794 the troups of the French Revolution marched into Cologne. The archbishop and the cathedral chapter fled. From then on the cathedral served for many years as a warehouse and only in 1801 was it consecrated again as a church.

In 1842 the building work resumed. The builders strictly followed the medieval plans in regard to form, but they used modern building techniques. In 1880 the cathedral was finally completed when the work on the two towers was finished.

Cologne Cathedral only just survived WWII and a lot of reparation work took place after it was hit by 14 aerial bombs. In fact the cathedral still bears some evidence of its war wounds and work is still not complete even today so the cathedral is known as an “eternal construction site”.

Köln Cathedral

Visiting Cologne Cathedral

Even if you don’t have much time in Cologne, visiting the cathedral is a must: with it’s excellent location, sheer magnitude and the fact that entrance is free, you would be missing out on one of the city’s best offerings.

You don’t actually need long to visit it but make sure you give yourself time to enjoy the outside as well as the inside.

Köln Cathedral

From May to October Cologne Cathedral is open 06:00-21:00 and from November to April 06:00-19:30. During mass and during special events the cathedral is only open for worship, not tourist visits.

If you wish to visit the tower and the treasure chambers then you do have to pay.

The Tower

Köln Cathedral

The admission fee for the Tower is 3€ per person. There are reductions for students, children and large families.

The Tower is open:
January – February / 9:00 – 16:00 hours
March – April / 9:00 – 17:00 hours
May – September / 9:00 – 18:00 hours
October / 9:00 – 17:00 hours
November – December / 9:00 – 16:00 hours

Have in mind that the tower closes on a Sunday morning until 12:30pm as visitors are not allowed up when the bell is ringing.

Köln Cathedral

When you visit the tower be prepared for a steep climb and a little dizziness; the only way up is by climbing a stone spiral staircase with 533 steps all the way to the top with few places to pause. The views from the top are fantastic though; you can see the whole of the city as well as the upper buttresses of the cathedral structure.

The Treasure Chamber

The admission fee for the Treasure Chamber is 5€ per adult or if you buy a combined ticket for the Treasure Chamber and the Tower it costs 6€.

The Treasure Chamber is open all year 10:00-18:00.

If you want more information about Cologne Cathedral visit the cathedral website which gives rich information about the history, construction and visiting options as well as up-to-date details about services and you can even download an app for your smartphone.

To discover more things to do in Cologne click here.

Below you have a slide show of my photos from Cologne Cathedral.

Filed Under: colognefeaturedgermanyReligion and Culture

About the Author: Based in Mallorca, obsessed with the world and have a lot to say about both... Step into my shoes and join me on a journey...

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