Located on the spanning and sinewy banks of the Rhine River, Koln (or Cologne) is a vibrant German city, rich with centuries of influential and grave history and a youthful and promising new culture. It was founded by the Romans in 38 BC, and though it has close to a million people, it keeps a welcoming, small-town feel.
Of course one of its main attractions is the glorious Koln Cathedral. During world war II, Koln was bombarded with 262 air raids by the Allies, which destroyed most of the city...except for the cathedral. Though some say it missed destruction by sheer luck, many German's believe that the airbombers couldn't bring themselves to desimate such a meaningful and historic structure.
It is a Gothic church, which is quite evident from its stunning architecture. It started in 1248, and completed in 1880 and is now known as a World Heritage site; it houses the Shrine of the Three Holy Kings that supposedly contains the relics of the Three Magi. For amazing views of the city and the Rhine, you can climb to the top of the Cathedral, like I did...well almost. My fear of heights prevented me from going all the way up...I was a few steps short (don't ask how that made a difference).
Koln has some amazing shops and stores lining it's picturesque and busy streets and pedestrian promenades, which is perfect for the shopoholic in you.
It is also the perfect place to laze by the mainmade beaches along the Rhine, or relax with a picnic at dusk.
If you are planning a trip to Germany, I definitely recommend stopping by Koln. I enjoyed visiting my friend Titus there so much, that I returned a month later.