Cologne's Historical Churches Walking Tour (Self Guided), Cologne

For centuries, Cologne has been regarded as a very important religious center. The Cologne Cathedral is renowned as a symbol of Christianity and is part of the estimated 30 or so churches located in this German Catholic city.
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Cologne's Historical Churches Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Cologne's Historical Churches Walking Tour
Guide Location: Germany » Cologne (See other walking tours in Cologne)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.1 Km or 3.8 Miles
Author: derek
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Church of St. Severin
  • Church of St. Pantaleon
  • Church of St. Cecilia
  • Antoniterkirche
  • Cathedral Gross St. Martin
  • Minoritenkirche
  • Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom)
  • St. Andreas Church
  • Church of St. Ursula
  • Church of St. Agnes
Church of St. Severin

1) Church of St. Severin

The Basilica of St. Severin is an early Romanesque basilica church located in the Südstadt of Cologne (Köln) and it is one of the twelve Romanesque churches of Cologne. It was established in the late 4th century as a memorial chapel and extended several times. The oldest parts of today's building date back to the 10th century. It was designated a Basilica Minor by Pope Pius XII in 1953. The former collegiate church is dedicated to St. Severin of Cologne.

Saint Severin of Cologne (in Latin, Severinus) was the third known Bishop of Cologne, living in the later 4th century. Little is known of him. He is said in 376 to have founded a monastery in the then Colonia Agrippina in honour of the martyrs Saints Cornelius and Cyprian, from which developed the later Church of St Severin. Severin is notable as a prominent opponent of Arianism. His bones are today preserved in a gold shrine in the choir of St Severin's Church in Cologne. That seen today is a reconstruction of 1819, as the mediaeval shrine was melted down for the gold in the period of French rule, ca. 1795-98. Its opening in 1999 corroborated the documented transfer of the bones of bishop Wigfried of Cologne (924-953), as it was possible to date the old inner wooden shrine by the latest dendrochronological techniques to the year 948. An ancient cloth, probably Byzantine, was also discovered, with which the wooden box was lined. The saint's feast day is 23 October.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Church of St. Pantaleon

2) Church of St. Pantaleon

The beautiful Church of Saint Pantaleon enjoys the distinction of being one of the 12 Romanesque churches in Cologne. It was built over a Roman villa ruins as a dedication to a Greek martyr in the 10th century. Right next to this church, a Benedictine Abbey was founded by Emperor Otto the Great’s Brother, Archbishop Bruno in 957. Consecrated on 24th October, 980 by Archbishop Warin of Cologne, Saint Pantaleon church has a small east apse, a flat roof, square transepts and Westwerk in Carolingian style.

An apse with a crypt and a larger Westwerk at the west end was later added on at the east end of the church by wife of Otto II, Empress Theophanu. Five years after her death, in 996, church renovations were completed. The next renovation was not until 1150-60 when decorative flooring and side aisles were added. The Pantaleon church was again repaired and renovated several years after it was destroyed during World War II. This church is home to the oldest surviving cloisters in Germany. You can find ancient gravestones and sarcophagi at the north side of the church. A visit to this exquisite structure with round headed windows and decorative Lombard bands with attractive red stripes is a must for every tourist.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Church of St. Cecilia

3) Church of St. Cecilia

One of the 12 Romanesque churches in Cologne’s old city, St. Cecilia's church is located close to the famous Gothic church of St. Peter and it dates back to the 12th century, 1130-60. Since 1956, the church has been the home of the Schnütgen Museum for medieval art. To enter Saint Cecilia church, you must pay a small entry fee. Remember that this church is not open on Mondays. Originally, this church was constructed for the Canonesses community. The fine nun’s gallery located at the nave’s west end on a raised small crypt was used by this community.

This church’s nave has a flat roof and you can find vaulted aisles. Visitors are impressed with the colorful and attractive wall paintings. These were painted one and a half centuries after the church was constructed. Do not miss the exquisite and artistic tympanum on the north door. This decorative area depicts the crowning of Saint Cecilia by an angel as her brother and fiance look on. Plan a trip to this wonderful church and enjoy its unique atmosphere on your visit to Cologne.
Sight description based on wikipedia

4) Antoniterkirche

Cologne is a city that every avid tourist must visit at least once. This city has a unique charm and warm atmosphere that entices tourists to come back repeatedly. Cologne is known for its Gothic and Romanesque churches. Among the Gothic churches, the Antoniterkirche holds a special place. Located close to the main shopping street of the city, this Protestant church is frequented by those who wish to pray in absolute peace and quiet. Antoniterkirche is a very peaceful church built around 1350 to 1380. It boasts a simple, yet elegant architecture. Step inside the church and you cannot miss the Barlach’s Memorial Angel. This cast also known as the Angel of Death is made from the original cast. As the original was destroyed during WWII by the Nazis, this is the only remaining cast today preserved in this church.

You will also be struck by the oasis of peace inside the church in spite of the bustling, noisy Schildergasse outside. Schildergasse is incidentally one of Cologne’s busiest, main shopping streets. Antoniterkirche has three wings even though the church seems more of a chapel due to its small size. On your trip to Cologne, pay a visit to this charming church to enjoy its unique architecture and period art.
Cathedral Gross St. Martin

5) Cathedral Gross St. Martin (must see)

Cologne is very famous for its 12 Romanesque churches, much as for the exquisite and majestic Gothic churches. Among these dozen churches, Gross St. Martin holds a special place in the hearts of people who live here. This church is also visited by tourists from across the world. It was constructed by the Archbishop Bruno the Great on remnants of a Roman chapel (circa 960 AD) on what was then an island in the Rhine and dedicated to Saint Martinus. Later it was transformed into a Benedictine monastery. The church was badly damaged in WWII, with restoration work completed in 1985. The current buildings, including a soaring crossing tower that is a landmark of Cologne's Old Town, were erected between 1150-1250. The architecture of its eastern end forms a triconch or trefoil plan, consisting of three apses around the crossing, similar to that at St. Maria im Kapitol.

The most significant feature of this church is its majestic awe-inspiring tower, rising above the surrounding buildings. This tower in silhouette is one of Cologne skyline’s distinctive features. The attractive Romanesque design with heavy masonry and narrow windows is a sight to behold.

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.

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.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Fri: 9am-12:30pm; Tue-Sat: 1:15pm-5pm; Sat: 9:30am-12pm; Sun: 1:15pm-6pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

6) Minoritenkirche

Cologne is a city of exquisite churches. Visitors from around the world throng this city to enjoy the unique atmosphere, ambience and beauty of these Romanesque and Gothic churches. Minoritenkirche is one of the popular churches here, a must visit tourist attraction.

The Dom Cathedral and Minoritenkirche St Maria Empfangnis were constructed around the same time in Cologne. Minoritenkirche is a huge Gothic church built by Franciscans in the 1200s. As compared to the other churches in the city, you will find the architecture here refreshingly simple. Inside the church is John Duns Scotus’ tomb. He was a strong defender of orthodox religion and was a popular theologian. His orthodoxy did not go down well with many during that period. Just like the other churches in Cologne, this church too was damaged badly during World War II. In the following years, it was reconstructed, modified and enhanced many times. This triple-nave Gothic basilica located in Minoritenstreet houses the gravestone of the “father of journeymen” Adolf Kolping. On your trip to Cologne, visit this beautiful church that reflects glory in stark simplicity. The architecture mirrors the essential Franciscan values. Include this unique church in your itinerary on your next visit to Cologne.
Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom)

7) Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) (must see)

Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom, officially 'Hohe Domkirche St. Peter und Maria') is a Roman Catholic church in Cologne, Germany. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne, and is under the administration of the archdiocese of Cologne. It is renowned as a monument of Christianity, of German Catholicism in particular, of Gothic architecture and of the continuing faith and perseverance of the people of the city in which it stands. It is dedicated to Saint Peter and the Blessed Virgin Mary. The cathedral is a World Heritage Site, one of the best-known architectural monuments in Germany, and Cologne's most famous landmark. It is visited by 20.000 people every day. Visitors can climb 509 stone steps of the spiral staircase to a viewing platform about 98 m (322 ft) above the ground. The platform gives a scenic view over the Rhine.

Construction of Cologne Cathedral began in 1248 and took, with interruptions, until 1880 to complete. It is 144.5 meters long, 86.5 m wide and its towers are approximately 157 m tall. The cathedral is one of the world's largest churches and the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe. Cologne's medieval builders had planned a grand structure to house the reliquary of the Three Kings and fit its role as a place of worship for the Holy Roman Emperor. Despite having been left incomplete during the medieval period, Cologne Cathedral eventually became unified as "a masterpiece of exceptional intrinsic value" and "a powerful testimony to the strength and persistence of Christian belief in medieval and modern Europe".

Why You Should Visit:
Simply jaw dropping in size. You may never see another church so detailed and so large.

Take a look at the beautiful mosaics on the floor in the Cathedral's rear part.
You may also climb up to the top for a great view, or find the underground parking with plenty of parking places and see the original foundations exposed there.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-9pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
St. Andreas Church

8) St. Andreas Church (must see)

St. Andrew's Church (German: St. Andreas) is one of twelve churches built in Cologne in that period. Archbishop Gero consecrated the church in 974, dedicating it to St. Andrew, although an earlier church at the site was dedicated to St. Matthew. In the 12th century, the church was rebuilt in the Romanesque style and was probably completed after the great fire of Cologne in 1220. This church also features a number of attractive middle age sculptures, paintings, and murals. In the crypt of the church lies a Roman sarcophagus from the 3rd century, which holds the remains of the 13th-century theologian and natural philosopher St. Albertus Magnus. Remains of murals can be found at the nave show’s side chapels. In the 2nd century BC, Maccabeus brothers and their mother were martyred for their faith. You can find all three of them in the Maccabeus shrine that dates back to 1527.

One of the most striking features of this church is its exquisite combination of Gothic and Romanesque styles. It also has an impressive octagonal tower. Enter the gracefully elegant late Gothic choir hall and you will be floored by its sophistication and grandeur. Rich ornamental elements are expertly displayed in the Romanesque section. Do not miss out the late 19th-century dark chancel window additions. The subterranean room is artificially illuminated for a stunning effect. Extremely thin pillars support flat light domes that distribute indirect light.

Why You Should Visit:
Very photographic and a great place to unwind after the hustle and bustle of the train station & the Dom.

You can pop into one of the innumerable bars, restaurants and pubs close-by after visiting...
Sight description based on wikipedia
Church of St. Ursula

9) Church of St. Ursula

The Church of St. Ursula is located in Cologne the Rhineland, Germany. It is one of the twelve Romanesque churches of Cologne and was designated a Minor Basilica on 25 June 1920. While the nave and crossing tower are Romanesque, the choir has been rebuilt in the Gothic style. It is built upon the ancient ruins of a Roman cemetery, where the 11,000 virgins associated with the legend of Saint Ursula were supposedly buried. The church has an impressive reliquary created from the bones of the former occupants of the cemetery. Today the story of Saint Ursula is overwhelmingly considered to be fiction. Accordingly, nothing is known about the girls, if any, who are said to have been martyred at the spot. The commemoration, in the Mass of Saint Hilarion on 21 October, of Saint Ursula and her companions that was formerly in the Catholic calendar of saints for use wherever the Roman Rite is celebrated was removed in 1969, because "their Passio is entirely fabulous: nothing, not even their names, is known about the virgin saints who were killed at Cologne at some uncertain time".
Sight description based on wikipedia
Church of St. Agnes

10) Church of St. Agnes

St. Agnes is a neogothic Catholic church that was consecrated in 1902 and is the second-largest church in Cologne after the Cologne cathedral. It was founded by a school teacher who wanted to commemorate his dead wife and St. Agnes. The Church of St. Agnes is easily recognized for its idiosyncratic church tower that looks very much like a chess castle. With 80m (260 ft) in length and 40m (130 ft) in width, the church occupies an area of 2,155 sq.m. (23,200 sq ft). The tower has a height of 61m (200 ft).
Sight description based on wikipedia

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