The main church of Cologne was built on the site, where in Roman times was the early Christian church. In the list of the highest churches in the world Cologne Cathedral takes the third place. It is annually spent 10 million euros for maintenance of this church!
The first cathedral which became the residence of the archbishops of Cologne was consecrated in 870. Once the relics of the holy Magi (Three Kings) that had been received by the army of the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa for the victory over Milan were brought into the city, it was decided to build a majestic Cathedral in the Gothic style. The first phase of construction refers to 1248 - 1437 years, the second – to 1842 - 1880 years. The church was consecrated in the names of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Paul.
In 1181 - 1230 years Cologne’s jewellers produced from gold, silver and gems the coffer in which the relics of eternally young Caspar, grey-haired Melchior and dark-skinned Balthazar rest. Gold and precious stones donated Kaiser Otto IV, who brought trophies from the Crusades in 1204. The grantor was imprinted on the front side of the coffer, left of the Magi.
The cathedral is decorated with stained glass windows, created in XIII-XIV centuries. They depict scenes from the Old and New Testament. "Bavarian stained glass" with the scenes of "Descent from the Cross," "Miracle of Pentecost," "Adoration of the Magi" were bestowed by the Bavarian King Ludwig I in 1848 on the occasion of the 600th anniversary of the Cathedral’s construction.
In 1445 Stefan Lochner commissioned by the Cologne Council created a triptych "The Adoration of the Magi". In the central part of the painting the Virgin Mary with the infant Jesus are accepting gifts, on the side wings the patrons of the Cologne, Saint Ursula and Saint Gereon, are shown. The Cologne Cathedral also kept the oldest in the Western Europe miraculous crucifix of X century.
The cathedral height is 157 meters, so it is recommended to take pictures from the opposite bank of the Rhine. The climb to the top of the tower is long and only can be completed by the most purposeful. 533 steps must be overcomed and there is no fenced stairs in some parts of the path.