History | General

History

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Cologne, the largest city in the Rhineland region is also the oldest major city of Germany. It was as early as 38 BC when the Romans came here, that the city came into existence.  In 50 AD, the emperor Claudius bestowed public rights on the city as capital of a Roman province. The city get its name comes from the Roman empress Agrippina. The wife of the Emperor Claudius was born on the banks of the Rhine and the place was raised to the status and rank of a city and hence the name of the city.

Cologne is known for its marvelous Gothic cathedral, which was once the tallest building in the world. The city is so old and rich in history, that every now and then an archaeological finding doesn’t seem to be a wonder here.

World War II destroyed almost all the buildings of the old Colonia but thanks to restoration and reconstruction a part of it still exists. Since 1985 all the churches have been almost completely restored.

The reign of the Romans can be felt in every part of Cologne.  The Dionysus mosaic in the Römisch-Germanisches Museum, Roman city wall and the Roman water system, which brought fresh spring water to the Roman city from the Eifel region in olden times, are all contributions of the Romans.  As a proof of the Roman influence the world famous Dom and twelve large Roman collegiate and monastery churches are situated in Cologne.

It was also the Romans who brought Christianity to Cologne. Cologne had a Christian bishop as early as 313 AD, and in 785 became the seat of an archbishop. The Archbishop of Cologne then became one of the most powerful feudal lords in the Holy Roman Empire. But the people of Cologne soon had had enough of the feudal rule. In 1288, the battle of Worringen was fought and the people of Cologne defeated the archiepiscopal army. Cologne proclaimed their constitution with a mayor and city council in 1936. But it was only in 1475 that Cologne obtained its position as a free city and by this time, Cologne had become one of the most populated and richest cities in Germany.