Kölner Dom (officially Hohe Domkirche St. Peter und Maria) was dedicated to the Peter and the Blessed Virgin Mary and is the seat of the Catholic Archbishop of Cologne. It is the greatest Gothic cathedral in Germany and an icon of the city of Cologne. Construction started in 1248 but it was not officially completed until 1880. Once the tallest building in the world, Cologne Cathedral still boasts the world’s largest church façade. The cathedral’s main treasure is a golden reliquary containing the remains of the Three Magi of Christmas story fame. Visitors can also climb 533 steps of the spiral staircase to a viewing platform 97.25 m. above the ground. The platform gives a scenic view over the Rhine.
p.s. 科隆大教堂是一座位於德國科隆的天主教主教座堂。擁有157.38公尺高的鐘樓使它成為德國第二(僅次於烏爾姆主教座堂Ulmer Münster —世上僅存最高的教堂，高161.53公尺)、世界第三高的教堂，另外也是世界上第三大的哥德式教堂(前二大是塞維亞聖母主教座堂Catedral de Santa María de la Sede和米蘭主教座堂Duomo di Milano)，與巴黎聖母院大教堂和羅馬聖彼得大教堂並稱爲歐洲三大教堂；藝術史專家認為它完美地結合了所有中世紀哥德式建築和裝飾元素。
Ancient Site When the present Cologne Cathedral was commenced in 1248, the site had been occupied by several previous structures, the earliest of which may have been a grain store, perhaps succeeded by a Roman temple built by Mercurius Augustus. From the 4th century the site was occupied by Christian buildings, including a square edifice known as the “Oldest Cathedral" and commissioned by Maternus, the first Christian bishop of Cologne. The second church built on the site, the so-called “Old Cathedral", was completed in 818. This was destroyed by fire on 30 April 1248, during demolition in preparation for a new cathedral.
Medieval Beginning The foundation stone of the Gothic Cathedral was laid on 15 August 1248 on the celebration of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, by Archbishop Konrad von Hochstaden. Apparently the Old Cathedral was no longer sufficiently representative to house the mortal remains of the Three Kings, which Archbishop Rainald von Dassel brought back to the cathedral city in 1164 from the conquered city of Milan. These relics made the Cathedral one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in Europe. In the early 16th century, building was stopped – partly due to lack of money, partly due to lack of interest. At this point the eastern arm was completed under the direction of Master Gerhard (Gerhard von Rile) and sealed off by a temporary wall so it could be in use as the work proceeded. The chancel, the lower section of the South Tower with bell tower as well as the long nave and the cross nave were completed up to the lower arcades. The North Tower was almost completely nonexistent.
19th Century Completion Around the turn of the 19th century the supporters of the German Romantic movement reawakened public interest in the completion of the Cathedral thanks to their enthusiasm for the Middle Ages. Work resumed in 1842 to the original design of the surviving medieval plans and drawings, but utilizing more modern construction techniques, including iron roof girders. The completion of Germany’s largest cathedral was celebrated in 1880 attended by Emperor Wilhelm I.
World War II and Post-War History It is nothing short of a miracle that, although badly damaged, Cologne Cathedral survived the Second World War in spite of extensive bombing. The reconstruction and restoration of the Cathedral building was completed in 1956.