March 30, 2009

Amazing Cologne Cathedral

Germany has an incredibly beautiful cathedral in the city of Cologne. The Koln Cathedral's classic gothic architecture is a symbol of human devotion. The stone blocks have darkened over the years making it look even more ominous. Six centuries of artisan handiwork went into this huge building. And it IS massive, as these aerial photos will show.

Stepping out from the train station, its presence will smack you in the face and you wonder if you're at Hogwarts Castle.
I managed to get a shot of myself on the steps of the plaza with the amazing spires and facade details (including gargoyles) in the background.

But the interior was even more incredible. I moved among throngs of tourists to view the religious carvings, alters, floor tile designs, and stained glass windows. This place is a photographer's dream. I generally suck at it, but taking hundreds of shots means I'm likely to get at least a few keepers. The arches and columns were symmetrically elegant and the windows, just glorious.

After hours of gawking and snapping away, it suddenly happened... For a few brief moments, the sun found its way through the clouds and this huge room became even more surreal as the rich colors poured themselves off of the stained glass windows and spilled onto the columns and concrete walls. It was SO cool.

The central alter made me think of what a great stage, with built-in drum riser, it would make.

There are nooks and crannies that hold dramatic carvings and ancient treasures.

Then I climbed the south tower... a spiral staircase of large stone blocks as steps. The stones were worn down an inch or two in the center of each step from centuries of monks and visitors going up and down. I paused at the bell tower, caught my breath and continued up the 500 stairs until my legs were weak and wobbly.

When I reached the spire, I looked up and the sunlight just streamed in through the open designs in the roof.

What an amazing experience.
I hope I get to go back someday, and if I have a heart attack from climbing those steps... ah well, it's not the worst place to die.


  1. Did you manage to see any of the eighty four early 14th century misericords? These are both unusual and beautiful, especailly as they come from the first building phase.

  2. Honestly, I had not seen the misericords. Thanx for the great link, Dominic. Some areas were inaccessible, or too crowded or too dark to shoot, but there's so much history and art there. It was just aesthetic overload for me. I WILL go back someday!