Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Top 10 Curious About Cologne Germany

1. Cologne was a Military Area Command Headquarters (for the Military District (Wehrkreis) VI of Münster, during World War II. Cologne was a major target during World War II. Th city endured 262 air raids by the Western Allies, which caused approximately 20,000 civilian casualties and almost completely wiped out the centre of the city. During the night of 31 May 1942, Cologne was the target of "Operation Millennium", the first 1,000 bomber raid by the Royal Air Force in World War II. 1,046 heavy bombers attacked their target with 1,455 tons of explosives, approximately two-thirds of which were incendiary. This raid lasted about 75 minutes, destroyed 600 acres of built-up area, killed 486 civilians and made 59,000 people homeless. By the end of the war, the population of Cologne had been reduced by 95%. This loss was mainly caused by a massive evacuation of the people to more rural areas.

2. Hohenzollern Bridge The bridge was constructed between 1907 and 1911 after the old bridge, the Cathedral Bridge (Dombrücke), had to be demolished. The Cathedral Bridge had been unable to handle the increasing traffic in Cologne. The Hohenzollern Bridge was one of the most important bridges in Germany during World War II; even under consistent daily air strikes the bridge was not damaged badly. On 6 March 1945, German military engineers blew up the bridge when Allied troops started to conquer Cologne. After the war, reconstruction was quickly organized; by May 8, 1948, the Hohenzollern Bridge was accessible by pedestrians again. Over the next eleven years the bridge was improved until by 1959 it was usable without any impairment. During the 1980s the bridge was renovated with two new tracks. The Hohenzollern Bridge now regularly has over 1200 trains pass through daily. The bridge is regarded as an important part of Cologne as it connects Cologne's central station with the major European cities on the other side of the Rhine.The total length of the Hohenzollern Bridge is 409.19 meters (1,342.5 ft).
3. Since 2008 people have placed love padlocks on the fence between the sidewalk and the tracks. Love padlocks (also known as Love Locks) are a custom by which sweethearts affix padlocks to a fence or similar public fixture to symbolize their everlasting love. They are most commonly placed on the railings of bridges. Custom of love padlocks has become internationally popular. First starting at the bridge Ponte Milvio in Rome the ritual of love padlocks has gained a significant presence in Italy, mainly inspired by a fictional event in the book I Want You by Italian author Federico Moccia, who later made it into the cheesy film-adaptation Ho voglia di te. In Florence, Italy, love padlocks have been affixed to the railing around and near the statue of Benvenuto Cellini located at the centre of the Ponte Vecchio.  If you hang in there with my tour of Europe, I spotted these locks in Florence not knowing what there were.  I have a photograph.

4. Severinsbrücke Construction of the Severin Bridge began in 1956 as a plan started even before the war of the intention to build two bridges to cross the Rhine.  Construction on this bridge was halted when an accident occurred during construction in September in which five people were killed. Construction was completed in 1961, in 1967 the At the turn of 1996/1997 was on the pylon of the bridge, an art installation Severin of Cologne bridge won action artist HA Schult assembled from fluorescent lights.  This was a globe, which was not massive, but according to the patterns of longitude and latitude only a delicate lattice design, mounted on fluorescent lights in the form of the continents in different colors.  In addition, projected out of the Cologne location on the globe emerged an outgrowth of a red glowing ball Neonfigure in a euphoric pose, in 2000 a revised this artwork was moved by helicopter from the Severin bridge to its present location on the roof of the left bank of the building located next to the Zoobrücke DEVK flown headquarters. I believe this  link shows the artwork OKO-Globe. Schult has resided in Cologne since 1990.

5. Cologne is a major cultural centre of the Rhineland and has a vibrant arts scene. Cologne is home to more than 30 museums and hundreds of galleries. Exhibitions range from local ancient Roman archaeological sites to contemporary graphics and sculpture. The Cologne Trade Fair hosts a number of trade shows such as Art Cologne, imm Cologne International Furniture Fair and the Photokina.

6. Cologne also became an outstanding centre of medieval pilgrimage, when Cologne's Archbishop Rainald of Dassel gave the relics of the Three Wise Men (photograph found on wikipedia taken by Arminia, in 2004) to Cologne's cathedral in 1164 (after they in fact had been captured from Milan). Besides the three magi Cologne preserves the relics of Saint Ursula and Albertus Magnus.

7. Construction of Cologne Cathedral began in 1248 and took, with interruptions, until 1880 to complete, roughly 600 years. It is 144.5 metres long, 86.5 m wide and its towers are approximately 157 m tall. The cathedral is one of the world's largest churches and the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe. For four years, 1880–84, it was the tallest structure in the world, until the completion of the Washington Monument. It has the second-tallest church spires, only surpassed by the single spire of Ulm Minster, completed 10 years later in 1890. Because of its enormous twin spires, it also presents the largest facade of any church in the world. The choir of the cathedral, measured between the piers, also holds the distinction of having the largest height to width ratio of any medieval church.

8. In 1996, the cathedral was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List of culturally important sites. In 2004 it was placed on the "World Heritage in Danger" list, as the only Western site in danger, due to plans to construct a high-rise building nearby, which would have visually impacted the site. The cathedral was removed from the List of In Danger Sites in 2006, following the authorities' decision to limit the heights of buildings constructed near and around the cathedral.

9. The cathedral suffered seventy hits by aerial bombs during World War II. It did not collapse, but stood tall in an otherwise flattened city. The great twin spires are said to have been used as an easily recognizable navigational landmark by Allied aircraft raiding deeper into Germany in the later years of the war, which may be a reason that the cathedral was not destroyed. It has been claimed that in June 1945 American troops used the cathedral as a rifle range. The repairs to the building were completed in 1956. In the northwest tower's base, an emergency repair carried out in 1944 with bad-quality brick taken from a nearby war ruin (see German Wikipedia "Kölner Domplombe") remained visible until 2005 as a reminder of the War, but then it was decided to reconstruct this section according to its original appearance. The brick-filling can be seen in the image on the right.
Some repair and maintenance work is constantly being carried out in some section of the building, which is almost never completely free of scaffolding, since wind, rain, and pollution slowly eat away at the stones.

10. The Cologne Cathedral (Koln Dom) has a website of it's own and they actually diagram and list all the precious artifacts and artwork within this massive building. If you ever venture to Germany, it is a stop to put on your list and I recommend their website to do your research before you go. It is truly amazing.

This concludes my tour of Germany. As you can tell from the majority of my links, the information was obtained at wikipedia, I merely had the opportunity to see and photograph what others have recorded as facts and have shared them with you. I hope you enjoyed Germany, wait till you see Italy, Mama Mia!

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