A Walk Through Historic Cologne // Germany

June 19, 2018

Happy Tuesday friends! I hope that your week has started off well! Back in April I shared that on our 5th day of our Rhine River cruise we had the amazing opportunity to spend the morning cruising the Middle Rhine River. (You can read about the first part of our scenic cruising HERE and the second part HERE!) 
The 5th day of our cruise turned out to be one of my favorites. The morning cruising the Rhine was a beautiful experience and definitely one of our favorite parts of the trip (even if we did freeze! hahaha!) and then the afternoon and early evening were spent exploring the beautiful city of Cologne, Germany.
After a yummy lunch we headed into our afternoon tours that strolled through Old town Cologne before we went and spent time at the Kolner Dom, Germany's largest cathedral and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I will be dedicating an entire post to the Cathedral (it was simply amazing!) but today I wanted to share pictures from our walk through historic Cologne.
Cologne (or Koln in German), which is located northwest of Bonn, is the largest city in the German federal state of the North Rhine-Westphalia. It is one of Europe's most major metropolitan areas and most cultural cities (with over 30 museums!) and is the fourth most populated city (following Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich). 
Side note- aren't these colorful houses absolutely adorable? I took so many pictures of them because I just loved the color against the church!
Founded in the 1st century AD, Cologne functioned as the capital of the Roman province and was the headquarters of the Roman military until 462. Cologne thrived during the Middle Ages as one of the most critical and important trade routes- serving as a conduit between the east and west in Europe. 
Although the city had gone through several different occupations by the French and the British in the decades prior to World War II, the city gained unfortunate notoriety in World War II as one of the most heavily bombed cities during the war. 
During World War II the Royal Air Force dropped more than 34,711 tons of bombs on Cologne alone. This number is absolutely staggering if you consider the amount that this is and the fact that it was all leveled in this one area.
This intense bombing reduced the Cologne population by nearly 95% during World War II... mainly due to the evacuation as it destroyed the entire city. To give a glimpse of what things looked like I have included a few pictures below that I found while researching about Cologne:
These pictures above are not my property- they were found on the internet. 
Due to the severity of the destruction there is a unique landscape that has emerged in Cologne. The intention during the rebuilding phase was to save and restore as many historic buildings as possible and in doing so there is an eclectic mix of the days gone by amidst the new.  
The rich history of Cologne added to the depth of what we were seeing.  
In many ways, this time through Historic Cologne reminded me of our time in Colmar, France
There is a beauty that can only come from having endured so much destruction and living to tell the story. I was quieted by this and the way that so much history had survived despite the harsh encounters and decimation. 
There is a beauty that comes from everything when you face difficulties and still manage to persevere. Perhaps that is one of the greatest lessons that I took away from our entire trip. 
I hope you enjoyed this brief tour of a walk through Historic Cologne! In my next post I can't wait to share more about the Cologne Cathedral and its unique survival during the bombing of World War II. The Cathedral was absolutely magnificent! If you are interested in reading more about our Basel to Amsterdam cruise on Viking, you can click on the links below: 

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