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The Cologne Cathedral (in German der Kölner Dom) or as it's original name: Dom St. Peter und Maria, is a Gothic building of which the build was started in 1248, and finished in the 1880, when the build of the towers was completed. The two large towers dominate the church supporting the worlds largest façade of any church in the whole world. The two towers of the Cathedral have a height of 157 meter. (the North tower is 7 centimeters higher than the South tower). Until 1883, so only very briefly, it was the highest manmade building on the planet. In the second World War the cathedral was hit and damaged by bombs, but most of the church survived, mainly because the towers were an orientation point by the pilots flying over this part of Germany.
The main part of the building is 144 meter, and 43,5 meter high. The plan of the cathedral is shaped like a cross, which is common in gothic churches. Inside the Cathedral there many chapels, graves, relics, treasures and works of art to be found. Also pay attention to the decorated colorful windows.
In 1996 this cathedral was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Today it is one of the best tourist sights in all of Germany.
The Cathedral has great historic and religious significance as a pilgrimage site. The Church houses magnificient Shrine of the Three Kings. It said that the shrine contains the relics of the Three Kings who came to honour Jesus. Consequently Cologne was one of the great pilgrimage destinations during medevial times. Regardless of the truth of the matter it cannot be denied that the shrine itself is a marvelous piece of art and goldsmithing.
The opening hours are Monday to Sunday from 6.00 until 19.30.
The tower is open between 9.00 and 16.00 from November till February, from 9.00 until 17.00 in March, April and October, and from 9.00 until 18.00 from May until September.
The treasury is opened daily from 9.00 until 18.00.
Note that during the Carnaval week(end) opening hours are somewhat restricted.
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The Dom itself can be visited for free. The climb to the top of one of the towers will cost you 2 euros (adults), a visit to the treasure chamber costs 4 euros. You can also get a combined ticket for the tower and the treasure chamber that cost 5 euros.
For schoolchildren, students and impaired persons reduced tickets are available.
The train might be the best method of transport to arrive. The Dom is just a short walk across the square from the Central Station. For people just passing Cologne on the way to some other destination, it is worth to take a 2-3 hour stop in Cologne to visit the Dom.
Eurolines connects to several German cities, including Cologne. The stop is at the central trainstation in the center of town. You can't buy tickets in Cologne itself, you will need to make your reservations by internet.
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