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Tuesday, 25 March 2014

A Dark And Gloomy Cathedral

Dear friends,

I don't know how you feel about Cathedrals but I always was in love with them! They seem to be the only objects that I can touch in real life and feel small, with their great height towering above me. I had this experience a few times: first it was the joyful, delicate, earth-modelled and very bright lighted Sagrada Familia in Barcelona - I was shocked that it was so hard to make a picture of the full cathedral, no matter how much I crawled and tried different positions, I would have to be really far to catch it whole! The second was the Notre Dame de Paris with its beautiful 2 towers - one for entering and one for exiting. It was dark and delicate and yet so very full of life and light! It was a place of contrast for me :) And I fell in love with it immediately!
The third one on the list was the Cologne Cathedral - or the Dom - that stole my heart and my breath ;))) the first moment I have seen it! It was Tuesday evening, the 25th of February, and Dana came to pick me and my adorable husband from the Main Station (bus and train) located just next to the Cathedral. As Dana took us downstairs to the U-Bahn section of the Station I caught a glimpse of the Cathedral, by night. I was under shock for a few minutes and I could not breath. It was so beautiful I could cry. Dark yet so very rough and powerful. I took a deep breath and settled that morrow, first thing, SHE will be the first one whom I shall visit with my dear husband and lovely soul half.
And we were in for quite a treat. Again the Cathedral would not fit in the camera frame and it would feel larger than life. Yet again my heart would skip a beat at the sight of it... I asked Dana if she still has these WOW! moments when she is astonished of how beautiful the Cathedral is - She still does :) and let's face it, it is hard not to look upon it and admire its glorious forms. It is made out of special dark rock material that gives her this dark and unpolished look. They are cleaning it constantly but this rock will always turn dark. I guess that is part of her charm :) That is why I fell in love with her - her truly dark, gloomy look (no matter the weather). She is dark and twisted and somehow she feels evil and non-responsive, yet she is a beauty that captures your heart ;)
Building of the Cologne Cathedral commenced in 1248 and was finished in 1880, 632 years later.Originally the cathedral was built to house the Three Wise Men’s shrine.The height of the northern tower of the Cologne Cathedral is 157,38 meters, while the height of the southern tower is 6 cm below that (ain't that weird?! why are they not both the same?). The external length of the cathedral is 144,58 meters and the width is 86.25 meters. 
The Cologne Cathedral was the tallest building in the world between 1880 and 1884. It was preceded by the Rouen Cathedral and succeeded by the Washington Monument and the Eiffel Tower. Cologne Cathedral was hit by 14 bombs during World War II, but the building did not fall. It is believed that the Cathedral was not completely destroyed by bombs because it served as an easily recognizable landmark for pilots.
Part Of The Entrance
More details of the Entrance :)
The present Cathedral structure is the third structure built on this location. During the fourth century a Roman temple was erected, and in the year 818 a second religious structure was placed here. When this church burned down in 1248, the present cathedral structure was started on the same spot. The current Cologne Cathedral was originally intended as a place for the relics of the Magi. These relics were presented to Rainald von Dassel, who was the Archbishop of Cologne, by the Roman Emperor Fredrick Barbarossa in the year 1164.
Rhine River cruises offer an excellent way to view the cathedral, which was reconstructed after being hit 14 times during World War II by bombs. None of these hits caused any serious damage though, and the reconstruction was finished in the year 1956.
The Cologne Cathedral includes the Gero Cross, which dates back to the year 970 and is the oldest crucifix of this size anywhere north of the Alps region.
Also, in case you did not know..., the Cathedral is a renowned monument of German Catholicism and Gothic architecture and is a World Heritage Site. It is Germany's most visited landmark, attracting an average of 20,000 people a day. Now the building is extremely impressive! Inside - Out! And the tough part that will get your heart pupming insanely will be the flight of no less than 533 stairs to the top! (that is around 100 more than the Notre Dame de Paris, but who's counting?!) I thought my heart would just burst out flying from my chest!...
I just loved the colorful stained glass with all the saints and motives from the Scriptures. Not to mention the mosaic floors and the lovely details that each arch had. I think I would have stayed there for a full day just wondering upon the minds that created all that. They were truly inspired and blessed to have created such wonderous things!
The nave has many 19th century stained glass windows. A set of five on the south side is called the Bayernfenster, and were a gift from Ludwig I of Bavaria, and strongly represent the painterly German style of that date.
As you walk though this marvel we call the Cologne Cathedral you have to make sure you check each and every corner. Each piece of the floor, each piece of cieling, each arch and each sculpture. It is wonderful as a whole but also taken into small pieces that form that whole image of dark lady.
More details of the lovely inside
The light from the candles just attracted me to take this picture :)
A part of the indoor floor
The lovely painted arch and ceiling attracted my view before going down under the Cathedral.
Be careful as you walk and mind your head if you are tall ;)
The inside of the small chapel inside the Cathedral, just below ground level - don't forget to see that!
Now just have a look at those acrhes, they instantly made me feel small...
How perfect they are and long and majestic, towering above you and yet protecting you :)
I also fell in love with the details of the door. Just have a look at that lion handle! I just had to have a picture with it! It made me think of Charles Dickens and A Christmas Story, made me think of E. Scrooge's house and the handle that transformed itself into the ghost of his ex-partner Marley...
Fear not, it did not transform ;)
In order to get to the top and see the bells and the eagle-eye view over lovely Koln you need to be brave and face the 533 stairs. The entrance is on the right side of the Cathedral and the entrance fee is 3 euros (8 if you wanna visit some expo as well but we went just for the towers as this was our thing ;) ).
It was quite a ride as the stairs go narrower and narrower into the spiral case - 2 people have to squeeze in order to pass and even if you are not claustrophobic you may experience hyperventilation!
In Notre Dame de Paris you would go up one tower and exit through the other one. Well... not the same here so you have to mind the trafic... people in your back and in your front + the extra ammount of people who want to go down/up against the flow... It may be quite a ride if you visit with children so be careful of them and don't let them run loose...
The view on top is worth the trouble! Totally! Your heart will race and you will be red or white when you reach the top but you will be happy in your heart as the view is so pleasant. It ain't as miraculous as Paris but it is quite a beautiful city and you can see the Rhine and the Hohenzollern Bridge quite well ;)
Sorry for the non-artistic pictures I took... My hand was shaking and I was panting by the time I got up and I was dizzy from the seashell staircase... totally not trained, I tell you! I was just fine when I did the Notre Dame and look at me now... 100 stairs extra and I am going balistic here... Shame on me!
The 3 Muscheteers On Top Of The Koln Cathedral :)
Of  course the upper side, as in Paris Cathedral, is covered and taken care of so people would not fall off so taking pictures can be quite a challenge so I focused rather on the inside where thousand of people wrote their name and dates when they visited this lovely place :)
The weather was a bit dull while we were up but later on we had sun and we did awesome pictures on the Hohenzollern Bridge but I shall tell you more on that next Tuesday ;) So stay put, lovely colorful pictures are coming soon ;)
While in the tower you will find the most funny stickers so keep your eyes open ;)
If you want you can also view more upon the area through the special binoculars ;)
It also seems some people started applying their love locks to the tower as well. As you can well see my husband is kind enough to give us the Pope's wave ;)
More details for you :)
And even more crystal clear glass ;)))
And 2 loving pidgeons cooing eachother :)
Claire Bear here's looking at you kid! When I saw this I instantly thought of you :*
As you can see, after going up and down 533 stairs... we were quite tired so we had a short break as we were no longer going straight... what can I say, we ain't getting younger :p
So my awesome lovely husband went off to buy water and we shamelessly sat on the staires. He also took really really nice pictures of me and Dana fooling around so we bow to him for his greatness :*
People preparing for the Carnival
Main Station outside clock
Lovely Eastery display in the window of a Florist Shop :)
I really really loved those Ritter Chocolate stairs that were leading to one of the train lines...
God related stickers are apparently very trendy in Germany
We could have easily concluded the day with just the Cathedral on the list but this was completed with a wonderful walk to the Hohenzollern Bridge, and I will show you the pictures and tell you more about it next week at the #traveltuesday post ;)
If you liked this post you may enjoy the below posts as well related to Koln/Bonn - Germany:

  • What Would You Visit In Koln - thoughts upon what one could see in Koln, ideeas at the beginning of the journey
  • Germany, Ich Liebe Dich - Koln/Cologne & Bonn through BB pictures + 2 dear pictures that my best friend Dana took :) - a short intro to our trip in Germany
  • The Flight Travel Bug - or how I love to fly and I am glad my husband choose Lufthansa for our trip to Koln/Cologne 
  • Krakow-Cologne. How do I get there? - on how we managed to get from Poland to Germany: flight + ICE Train, and a little extra on the side: chinese food for dinner :) 
 And stay close for more Koln/Bonn adventures - coming each Tuesday :) Next week: Hohenzollern Bridge & The Love Locks 

Hope you liked today's post and pictures and let me know if you were in Koln ever and if you had problems with those 533 stairs... They really made my day! :)))

Yours truly,
The LadyBug In Love With Koln Cathedral