Cologne Cathedral is without a doubt one of the most stunning and famous cathedrals in the world. It is known in German as "Kölner Dom" but is officially called "Hohe Domkirche Sankt Petrus" (Cathedral of Saint Peter). Today it remains a Catholic cathedral in Cologne as the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne.

While most of the city of Cologne was destroyed around it during World War Two, the cathedral managed to remain standing preserving a piece of the city's rich history. It is an acclaimed monument of German Catholicism and Gothic architecture and it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.


History Of The Cologne Cathedral

The Cologne Cathedral is the definition of superlatives. The previous building here was not deemed impressive enough to house the remains of the Three Wise Men (the magi or three Kings of the Bible that visited the infant Jesus bearing gifts). These relics had been bought by the archbishop Rainald von Dassel to Cologne from Milan (Milan had been conquered in 1164). Because of these relics, the cathedral soon became one of the most important pilgrimage sights in Europe.

As a monumental undertaking, it took forever to complete. Construction began in 1248 but was halted for years around 1560 and sat unfinished. It wasn't until the 1840s that work was restarted and it was only completed to the original Medieval plan in 1880.

  • Built: From 1248 to 1880
  • 632: Number of Years To Complete

When it was first planned, it was built as a place of worship for the Holy Roman Emperor, when it was finished 632 years later, the Holy Roman Empire was a distant memory and it was then the German Empire.

During World War Two the cathedral took fourteen hits by aerial bombs. The cathedral was badly damaged but managed to remain standing while the rest of the city around it was completely flattened.

  • World War Two: Hit Fourteen Times By Aerial Bombs

Near the cathedral was also an intense tank battle battle between American tanks of the 3rd Armored Division and a Panther Ausf. A. While the Panther was able to destroy a Sherman, it was knocked out, in turn, three hours later by a Pershing tank.

The war damage sustained by the cathedral was completed in 1956. Still, various parts of the structure are in a near-constant state of repair and restoration of one form or another today due to the natural wearing of wind, rain, and pollution.

Related: Everything You Should Know About Notre Dame, And When You'll Be Able To See It Again

The Cologne Cathedral Today

Today it is the most visited landmark in all of Germany with a impressive 20,000 people visiting it daily.

  • Visitors: 20,000 Per Day
  • Height: 157 Meters or 515 Feet
  • Listed: As A UNESCO World Heritage Site

It is the second-highest church in Europe (the tallest church is the Ulm Minster also in Germany). Soon it will fall to being the third-largest as the Sagrada Familia is built. It is the tallest twin-spired church in the world (the Ulm Minster has a single spire). The most massive towers constitute the largest facade of any church in the world and are really an impressive sight to behold.

For those visiting Barcelona in Spain, the Sagrada Familia is a truly impressive cathedral that is open to the public. It is destined to become the largest in the world.

  • Fun Fact: The Northern Tower Is 7cm (2 inches) Taller Than the Southern One
  • Capacity: 20,000 People

Related: This Historic Cathedral Just Could Be The Most Impressive Building In Mexico City

Visiting The Cathedral

  • Hours: The Cathedral Is Open Every Day 6.00 am to 8.00 pm
  • Touristic Visits: 10 am to 8 pm Mondays Today Saturdays And 8 am to 8 pm On Sundays
  • Appointment: Access To The Cathedral Is Only By Appointment (Bookings On-Site And Can't Be Booked In Advance)
  • Admission Fee: Admission To The Cathedral Is Free

For those who would like to worship and attend Catholic mass. According to its website, its masses are held at:

  • Workdays: 6:30, 7:15, 8, 9, 6:30 (Devotions at 6 PM Monday to Friday)
  • On Sundays: 7 AM, 8:30 AM, 10 AM, 12 PM, 5 PM, 7 PM; Divine Office at 6 PM

Guided Tours

All tours of the Cologne Cathedral must be registered in advance and only authorized cathedral tour guides are permitted to conduct tours inside the cathedral. One must book at Köln Tourismus or the DOMFORUM.

Individual visitors may tour the cathedral by themselves outside of mass times. There is a limit of a max of 10 hours per hour, and a max of 25 people were tour.

  • Note: Due To The Pandemic, All Guided Tours Are Cancelled Until Further Notice

When visiting Cologne one while see just how the cathedral continues to easily dominate the city. It is as architecturally impressive as it is historic. It has survived the most destructive war in history and continues to tower above the city and stand proud.

Next: Barcelona's Sagrada Familia Pays 136 Years Worth Of Fines For Not Having A Building Permit