Alter Markt (Old Market), Cologne

Alter Markt (Old Market), Cologne

The Old Market was once connected to the Hay Market. Today the square bearing its name has several Renaissance buildings, an attractive fountain, and a Christmas Market.

The Old Market square has hosted markets and a residential area since at least 922. The oldest original structure in the square dates to 1580. Many other historic houses and buildings were destroyed during World War II bombing attacks.

The 1371 Cologne Weaver Uprising took place in Old Market and Hay Market. The weavers guild and the city council continuously disagreed, and the conflict turned bloody. The city council had more manpower, however, and the weavers were arrested or forced to leave the city.

The iconic fountain features a statue of Jan von Werth completed in 1884. The legend behind the statue tells of a young girl Griet who rejected Jan, a poor peasant. Griet wanted a wealthier husband. Devastated by her rejection, Jan left to fight in the Thirty Years' War and became a powerful general. He returned to Cologne and saw Griet in the square selling fruits. Griet was filled with regret and exclaimed "Jan, who would have thought it?" to which he replied "Griet, the person who should have done it!" and turns away.

Today, visitors will find traditional German architecture and old monuments dedicated to the city’s founders on and around the square. The imposing old town hall is located on the west side of the square. Visitors can also see a strange sculpture Kallendresser near house number 24's roof. The sculpture depicts someone relieving himself in the gutter. It is thought that the sculpture is a political statement directed towards the city authority.

The Old Market square is a pedestrian-only area surrended by restaurants, bars, and ice-cream shops. The place is full of life well into the night.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Cologne. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Alter Markt (Old Market) on Map

Sight Name: Alter Markt (Old Market)
Sight Location: Cologne, Germany (See walking tours in Cologne)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Cologne, Germany

Create Your Own Walk in Cologne

Create Your Own Walk in Cologne

Creating your own self-guided walk in Cologne is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Cologne Shopping Tour

Cologne Shopping Tour

Calling the shops, whilst in Cologne, is the thing you definitely should not miss! One of the most popular shopping destinations in Germany, this “cathedral” city abounds in malls, designer stores and various national and international brand outlets fit to impress anyone and let you shop till you drop! Some people even make special trips to Cologne just to stroll and buy things to their...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles
Cologne's Architectural Landmarks Walking Tour

Cologne's Architectural Landmarks Walking Tour

Around 75% of Cologne was destroyed by Allied bombing during World War II. Following such devastation, it meant that most of what was built immediately after the war came from the so-called “As quickly and cheaply as possible” school of architecture. Eventually, as the things settled, the architects were given the chance to build something that would really stand out.

Decades later, the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
Beer House Walking Tour

Beer House Walking Tour

In Cologne they say, "Kölsch is the only language you can drink." Brewed only here and nowhere else, Kölsch – a light beer, slightly bitter, bright yellow in color, and made of top-fermented yeast – is forbidden for production in any other part of Germany.

Each licensed brewery in the city makes its own variation of Kölsch, served traditionally in a tall, thin, cylindrical...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles
Cologne Introduction Walking Tour

Cologne Introduction Walking Tour

Cologne is one of Germany's oldest cities. It was founded as a Roman settlement on the Rhine in the first century, then known as the Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium.

The name came from Agrippina the Younger, wife of Roman Emperor Claudius. She came from the area and petitioned the emperor to raise the status of her home to a Colonia--a city under Roman law. During the Roman period, it...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Cologne's Historical Churches Walking Tour

Cologne's Historical Churches Walking Tour

The beautiful and historically rich city of Cologne has been around for over 2,000 years. For centuries, it has been regarded as a very important religious center.

The Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral), one of its biggest attractions, is renowned as a symbol of Christianity and “a masterpiece of exceptional intrinsic value” (UNESCO World Heritage Site). The twelve Romanesque churches of...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles