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Cologne Cathedral, Germany
Cologne Cathedral, Germany (Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash)

Cologne Cathedral, Germany


The official name of this imposing edifice is the "High Cathedral Church of Sts. Peter and Maria", but it is known simply as the Cologne Cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. Of all the great churches in the world, no other incorporates the very essence of the High Gothic style quite like this one. At 157 m, Cologne Cathedral is the second tallest church in Germany and the third highest in the world.

The plaza on which the Cologne Cathedral stands has been a gathering place for Christians since the late Roman period. This is where early Christians erected their first church, called the "oldest cathedral", some time after the fourth century CE. In the early ninth century, construction on the old Carolingian cathedral began. The building was completed in 873 and stood until the 13th century.

Cologne Cathedral, the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne, has one of the most beautiful exteriors of any Christian religious building in the world. But it is not only an impressive architectural wonder from the outside. Its interior is also of note, an outstanding example of the Gothic style. The late medieval choir stall, which could seat 104, is the largest in Germany. Among its unique features are the two seats that are left empty, reserved for the pope and the emperor.


  • Cologne Cathedral has been on the UNESCO list of World Cultural Heritage Sites since 1996. Today, it is most threatened by the damage inflicted by its urban environment. Acid rain eats away at the masonry and exhaust fumes stain its light colored sandstone.