Groß St. Martin (Great St. Martin Church), Cologne

Groß St. Martin (Great St. Martin Church), Cologne (must see)

The Great St. Martin Church has a long and storied history. The current church is a Romanesque Catholic church built between 1150 and 1250. The church's most distinctive feature is its iconic tower which has shaped Old Town's skyline for centuries.

During Roman times, this site was an island in the Rhine River. The Romans built a chapel on this site, and another church was built during the 10th century.

The church was destroyed by fire in 1150, and a new church was commissioned. A tri-apsidal structure was built in 1172 and survived an 1185 fire. Another fire damaged the roofs of the four towers in 1378, and a storm in 1434 knocked the roofs from the towers.

During the 18th century, Baroque decorations were added to the church's interior. However, some church officials thought the decorations were too ornate and changed some elements.

In 1794, French forces occupied Cologne and remained for 20 years. Great St. Martin's monastery was disbanded in 1802, and the monks had to find other places to live. The abbey was used as French barracks before being demolished.

Extensive restoration work began in 1847. During World War II, the church was damaged and several parts of the church burned to the ground. The church was restored between 1948 and 1985.

Why You Should Visit:
Very handsome church exterior; very nicely located near the Rhine; very quiet and peaceful; very close to the old town restaurants.

Tip:
The entrance is slightly hidden at the rear. You may also go downstairs into the basement to see some old Roman foundations which the church was built on.

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Groß St. Martin (Great St. Martin Church) on Map

Sight Name: Groß St. Martin (Great St. Martin Church)
Sight Location: Cologne, Germany (See walking tours in Cologne)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Cologne, Germany

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