Cologne (map) is one of the nation’s media, tourism and business hotspots, and is considered one of the most liberal cities in Germany. Cologne has a rich history, reaching back to the time of the ancient Roman Empire, when it was founded.
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A wealth of architectural heritage can therefore be found across the city ranging from pre-Christian times to strikingly modern buildings, with a high concentration of Romanesque and Gothic architecture, culminating in the magnificent Catholic Cologne Cathedral (Dom, map).
The city’s medieval Catholic Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom, map), the third-tallest church and tallest cathedral in the world, constructed to house the Shrine of the Three Kings, is a globally recognized landmark and one of the most visited sights and pilgrimage destinations in Europe.
Cologne is a major cultural center for the Rhineland; it hosts more than 30 museums and hundreds of galleries. Exhibitions range from local ancient Roman archeological sites to contemporary graphics and sculpture. The Cologne Trade Fair hosts a number of trade shows such as Art Cologne, Dmexco, imm Cologne, Photokina and Gamescom, a leading video games fair.
Agnesviertel (map) most notably in the bohemian Agnesviertel, you can find independent designers, bookshops, bars, and art galleries
Located in the Rhine-Ruhr area, Cologne is one of the warmest cities in Germany. It is also one of the cloudiest cities in Germany, with just 1567.5 hours of sun a year.
Cologne has an Little Istanbul in Keupstraße (map) that has many Turkish restaurants and markets.
Cologne Carnival is one of the largest street festivals in Europe. In Cologne, the carnival season officially starts on 11 November at 11 minutes past 11 a.m. with the proclamation of the new Carnival Season, and continues until Ash Wednesday. However, the so-called “Tolle Tage” (crazy days) do not start until Weiberfastnacht (Women’s Carnival) or, in dialect, Wieverfastelovend, the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of the street carnival.
The highlight of carnival is Rose Monday (Rosenmontag), two days before Ash Wednesday. All through these days, Cologne folks go out masqueraded.