Climb the 509 steps to the top of Kölner Dom, or Cologne Cathedral - a UNESCO World Heritage site and second tallest building in Cologne - to take in sweeping views across the city.
The Cathedral is still the second highest building in Cologne after the telecommunications tower. Its footprint is no less impressive, with the full length of the Cathedral measuring 145 m and the cross nave 86 m. In comparison, a football pitch is "only" around 100 by 70 m. The total area of the Cathedral measures almost 8000 square metres and has room for more than 20,000 people.
The foundation stone of the Gothic Cathedral was laid on 15 August 1248 on the celebration of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Apparently the Old Cathedral was no longer sufficiently representative to house the mortal remains of the Three Kings, which Archbishop Rainald von Dassel brought back to the cathedral city in 1164 from the conquered city of Milan. These relics made the Cathedral one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in Europe. In the early 16th century, building was stopped - partly due to lack of money, partly due to lack of interest.
At this point the chancel, the lower section of the South Tower with bell tower as well as the long nave and the cross nave were completed up to the lower arcades. The North Tower was almost completely nonexistent. For more than 300 years, the city's panorama was dominated by the mighty torso with a huge building crane on the incomplete South Tower.