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Koln History, Germany

Koln, better known as Cologne, is not only one of the largest cities in Germany, after Berlin, Munich, Hamburg and Dusseldorf, but also one of the oldest. Given its long and eventful history, it’s only natural that Koln should nowadays one of the leading cultural centres in the country. Besides visiting architectural wonders, hundreds of museums and galleries and lounging in a typical German bistro sipping a keg of Kolsch beer, you can do more unusual things like go to trade fairs, carnivals or relax at the thermal baths. Discover more about the past of this vibrant city with the help of this Koln History Guide.

Koln History - Foundation and early history

Koln was probably founded in 39 BC by a Germanic tribe, the Ubii, on the banks of the Rhine River. Later the romans occupied the area due to strategic reason. For about a century, Oppidum Ubiorum was nothing more than a village with a Roman military camp next door. However, in 50 AD, the wife of the Roman emperor Claudius, herself born there, asked her husband to elevate the village to the status of city, or Colonia. The horizons of the new Colonia Agrippina were considerable widened afterwards. The Romans built aqueducts, roads and thermal baths. It didn’t take long for Colonia to become the capital of the province, and then the capital of the Gallic Empire. In the 4th century, Frankish tribes conquered the city and made it the capital of their new empire. Charlemagne, the king of the Franks, made Cologne a bishopric, but gave the church leaders secular powers as well. Thus, the Archbishop of Cologne became of the most powerful people in the Holy Roma Empire. In the 13th century, the Archbishop ordered the construction of the Cologne Cathedral, today a world heritage site, but the structure was completed only in the 19th century. During the Middle Ages, Koln was part of the Hanseatic League, and became a very important merchant city.

Koln History - Modern history

At the turn of the 19th century, Koln cam briefly under French occupation, but in 1814 Prussian troops invaded the city. Despite religious tensions between Protestants and Catholics, the city flourished and by World War I it had over 700.000 inhabitants. During the Third Reich, the city was considerably expanded and modernized. However, Allied bombings during World War II razed nearly all of the city to the ground. Many cultural and historical landmarks were destroyed, but most of them were rebuilt until the 1990’s. Nowadays Koln is a prosperous city and a place of great cultural interest for scholars and tourists alike.

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  • WazlingCologne, the city of Roman ruins
    review by Wazling posted more then 30 days ago
    Cologne is one of the oldest cities in germany and nice to look at. There you can barely see history in every part of the normal life. A lot of ancient roman buildings are partly preserved and can still be seen. Also a great historic museum in the center shows a wide variety of findings from all...
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Koln City Ratings

  • Rating57%
    City Rank307
  • History & Culture: rated for 67%
  • Night Life & Entertainment: rated for 70%
  • Family & Fun: rated for 53%
  • Outdoors Activities: rated for 43%
  • Food: rated for 53%
  • Sightseeing: rated for 47%
  • Shopping: rated for 60%
  • Public Transportation: rated for 63%
  • Must visit this place: rated for 70%
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