Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Cologne, in German Koln, the Colonia Agrippina of the Romans, capital of Rhenish Prussia, is on the left bank of the Rhine, 45 miles N. of Coblenz. The town forms an arc, of which the river is the chord, and a bridge of boats and an iron bridge connect it with the suburb of Deutz on the opposite bank. The town, with its cathedral and many churches, presents a very picturesque aspect from a distance, and the Rhine, with its boats and isle and opposite suburb, is interesting, but the city is dirty and irregularly built, and Coleridge's description of it still holds good in the main. The cathedral, now finished, though tradition represented its completion as impossible, occupies a site said to have been covered by a church almost from the beginning of European Christianity. Part of the present building dates back to 1248. The spires were finished in 1880. It is in the form of the Latin cross, 480 ft, long, 282 ft. broad, and 154 ft. high, the towers and spires being over 500 feet, Cologne is noted for its relics. The shrine of the Three Kings is in the cathedral, the bones of St. Gereon and the 308 martyrs of the Theban Legion are in the church of St. Gereon, while the church of St. Ursula contains the bones of the 11,000 virgins. There are other public buildings of much interest, especially the thirteenth-century Rathhaus, of many architectural styles, and the twelfth-century Tempelhaus. Cologne is well situated for commerce, being in the centre of the Rhine trade, and communicating directly with Antwerp and the Low Countries, Germany, and Switzerland. Beside the trade in wine and corn, there are manufactures of cotton and woollen goods, silks, carpets, porcelain, soap, sugar, tobacco, and the noted eau-de-Cologne. In 1212 Cologne was an imperial city, a member of the Hanseatic league, rich, populous, and sometimes called the "Rome of the North." Petrarch admired it greatly. The discovery of America much injured its trade, the expulsion of the Jews in 1425 did it damage, and the persecution of the Protestants in 1618 harmed it still more. But the final blow to its prosperity was the closing of the Rhine by the Dutch in the eighteenth century. The river was closed till 1837, since which time Cologne has been steadily rising in prosperity. In 1794 it became French, but was restored to Germany in 1814.