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Museum Ludwig had its beginnings in 1976 when Peter and Irene Ludwig donated 350 works of contemporary artists. Works by artists like Warhol, Lichtenstein and Segal line the halls of this museum, which focuses primarily on 20th Century art. Visitors can study works of the Russian Avant-Garde from 1906-1930 as well as pieces on permanent loan by Pablo Picasso. Museum director Kasper König is interested in creating a dialogue with visitors; he encourages people to engage with the museum rather than being mere passing observers, so come equipped with your thinking caps! On the first Thursdays, the museum is open till 10p.
Opened in 1974, the Roman-Germanic Museum boasts an amazing collection of prehistoric, ancient and medieval finds. The exhibitions give an insight into the daily life, beliefs and customs of ancient cultures. The Roman-Germanic Museum houses the most beautiful of Cologne's Roman mosaics: the Dionysius Mosaic. The mosaic floor, belonging to a large Roman villa, was rediscovered in 1941 and now can be enjoyed by the public. An unusual feature is the collection of Roman glassware.
artothek, situated in a late Gothic townhouse from the 15th Century, has devoted itself to the development of modern art. It displays temporary exhibitions of works by artists from Cologne and also by international guests. The artothek in operational collaboration with the Kölnische Stadtmuseum, also lends works of art to the inhabitants of Cologne.
In the mid-19th Century, there was a bridge connecting the two banks of the Rhein near the Kölner Dom. This bridge was jokingly known to the inhabitants of the city as the Muusfall - the Mousetrap. At the beginning of the 20th Century, it had to give way to the Hohenzollern Bridge, a half-timbered arch bridge that was designed to carry the railway. Although the bridge was destroyed in 1945 during the last few days of World War II, it was later rebuilt and is most notable for the thousands of 'love padlocks' that adorn the railings. One of the most photographed landmarks in Cologne, the arches of the bridge light up the night in a beautiful sight to behold.
Described by UNESCO as a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, the Cologne Cathedral or the Kölner Dom is an awe-inspiring world heritage site. The construction of this Gothic cathedral started in 1248 and took 632 years to complete. When the church was finally completed in 1880, it was one of the world's tallest buildings. The Dom stands an imposing 157 meters (505 feet) high and while climbing one of the towers may be quite an endeavor, the view from the top is definitely worth the effort. Located within the cathedral is the Treasure Chamber, which is home to significant religious artifacts, including the hooked staff of Saint Peter. The Cologne Cathedral is a well-known historic landmark that can't be missed.
Cologne's Old Town, often called Altstadt, is a district that includes narrow medieval houses between the Hohenzollern Bridge and the Severins Bridge that was once the trading center of the city. Where craftsmen and merchants, since approximately the 10th Century, displayed and offered their wares, has now become the entertainment quarter. Today the former market squares are still busy, especially the Alter Markt. At Heumarkt, archaeologists display finds which tell the story of life in the town in years gone by, while the Alter Markt is a traditional meeting-place during festivals, markets and the opening of Karneval.
Designed by Oswald Mathias Ungers and opened in 2001, the neo-cubist Wallraf-Richartz-Museum is the perfect backdrop for exhibitions of post-15th Century European art. You'll find a stunning collection of Medieval works as well as neo-impressionist and impressionist art. Visit the second floor to see the Print Room which holds priceless drawings, including sketches by Leonardo da Vinci. There is also an onsite shop and cafe. This museum is a must-visit for all art lovers.
Steeped in legend, countless songs and stories have been written about the picturesque Rhine River. The inhabitants of Cologne may not have found the Nibelungen gold, which was said to shimmer at the bottom of the Rhine, but the river has still provided the city with economic influence. Cologne has been a river-port ever since the Romans founded their city of Colonia on the bank of the Rhine. Nowadays, more than ten million tons of goods are turned over in the docks each year.
Located in an impressive building, Imhoff Chocolate Museum is a fantastic museum where visitors can learn about the history of chocolate mainly from the time of ancient Maya and Aztec cultures. Visitors are taken through the history of cocoa beans from various countries, the crushing and processing of the beans and finally the main product. Visitors also get to sample these sweet treats which are simply tasty and delightful. There is a grand cafe and a lovely chocolate shop where visitors can sample various chocolate delights and even purchase some.
The Cologne Zoological Garden, also called the Kölner Zoo, is Germany's third oldest zoo and remains one of the city's top attractions. It was founded in 1860 and the elephant house was the first building to be opened. Over the years, the zoo has grown in size and is well known for its conservation efforts. You'll discover animals from around the world, including Big Cats and primates. Make sure you check out its great exhibits like the elephant park, the aquarium and the Rainforest Hall.
Located next to the Cologne Zoological Garden, the Flora und Botanischer Garten Köln is a beautiful green expanse covering 11.5 hectares (28.4 acres). The garden was founded in 1863 and was designed for different landscaping styles, including German, English and Italian Renaissance. The entrance is grand, with iron gates, a palace-like reception building and an impressive fountain. There are also various greenhouses, including a tropical house, cactus house and a sub-tropical house. Strolling through this gorgeous park is the perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon.