8 Remarkable Historical Sites in Cologne (WW2)

Updated on January 19, 2024  


Welcome to the vibrant city of Cologne, Germany, where rich history and stunning architecture intertwine at every corner. As you stroll along the Rhine River or wander through Old Town Cologne, you'll encounter numerous historical sites that showcase the diverse cultural heritage of this fascinating destination.

From UNESCO World Heritage sites like the iconic Cologne Cathedral to ancient Roman antiquities and somber World War II monuments, there's an abundance of captivating stories waiting to be unveiled across these impressive attractions.

Top Historical Sites To Visit In Cologne, Germany

Cologne Cathedral

Cologne Cathedral, a Roman Catholic church standing proudly in Cologne, Germany, is the largest Gothic cathedral in the country and serves as an architectural masterpiece for enthusiasts to marvel at.

As a UNESCO World Heritage Site for eight centuries, it offers visitors an unparalleled glimpse into the past while showcasing some of the finest examples of Gothic architecture.

cologne-cathedral-historical sites

Construction on Cologne Cathedral began back in 1248 but wasn't officially completed until 1880, illustrating both dedication and patience on behalf of those involved in its creation. [1]

The cornerstone was laid during the Feast of Assumption of Mary -- an event that imbues this historical site with deep religious significance.

When visiting Cologne Cathedral, we recommend taking time to appreciate not only the exterior but also all that lies behind closed doors. Participating in a guided tour can provide invaluable insights into history while enhancing your knowledge about both Roman Catholicism and Germany's rich cultural past.

Roman-Germanic Museum

Although not technically a historical site in Cologne, the Roman-Germanic Museum is a place choke full of history. This remarkable institution highlights the archaeological heritage of the region while focusing primarily on artifacts from Colonia, one of the major Roman settlements in Germany.


One particularly striking exhibit within the museum is an impressive Dionysus mosaic which was discovered during construction work in 1941. Showcasing exquisite craftsmanship with its intricate detailing and vibrant colors, this ancient piece serves as testament to Cologne's rich Roman history. [2]

Interestingly enough, not only does this iconic artifact reside at the museum - it also acts as its very foundation! Thus preserving crucial elements of archaeological significance such as villa ruins beneath its basement floor for public access and appreciation.

Hohenzollern Bridge

One of Cologne's most iconic landmarks, the Hohenzollern Bridge spans the Rhine River and offers stunning views of the city. Constructed between 1907 and 1911, this architectural wonder consists of three adjoining truss arch bridges with three arches each.


As you stroll across this historic bridge, you'll notice an abundance of "love locks" covering its railings. These locks symbolize eternal love and are left by couples from all around the world to mark their devotion to one another.

Visitors to Cologne should definitely include a leisurely walk across this magnificent truss arch bridge on their itineraries.

St. Gereon's Basilica

St. Gereon's Basilica is a must-visit historical site in Cologne, Germany. This Roman Catholic church is dedicated to Saint Gereon and was built in 612 AD as a decagonal-shaped nave similar to the Aachen Cathedral. [3]

What makes St. Gereon's Basilica unique is its rich history and stunning architecture that will take your breath away.

Whether you're religious or not, visiting St.Gereon Basilica should be on your list of things to do when in Cologne because of its beauty and awe-inspiring design that reflects ancient times' artistry for all travelers who wish to witness some rich cultural heritage sites while exploring Germany!

Great St. Martin Church

Another one of the top historical sites to visit in Cologne is the Great St. Martin Church. This medieval church was originally built as a chapel in 690 and later transformed into a Benedictine monastery in 708.


With its imposing quarter-tower top and clover-like shape, it's hard to miss this architectural gem.

What makes Great St. Martin Church even more fascinating are the Roman ruins found underneath it. Visitors can explore these ancient artifacts while learning about the rich history of Cologne.

It's truly an immersive experience that combines religion, architecture, and culture all in one place.

Cologne City Hall

The magnificent Cologne City Hall has a rich history dating back over 900 years and is located in the heart of the city center between Town Hall Square and Old Market.

historical site in cologne-city-hall

The Cologne City Hall is not only known for its beautiful architecture but also for its historical significance. It was once home to political figures who governed the town during medieval times, making it an important cultural heritage site in Germany.

When exploring this historic landmark, be sure to bring your camera with you! The halls' impressive design will leave you in awe of German history while giving you a glimpse into ancient German culture.

Praetorium Cologne

Praetorium Cologne is an underground archaeological site that offers visitors a rare glimpse into Cologne's rich Roman history. Once the seat of the Imperial Governor of Cologne during the Roman occupation, Praetorium has been carefully preserved to showcase its historical significance. [4]

Upon entering Praetorium, travelers will be transported back in time as they discover fascinating details about how Rome once ruled over this area. The well-preserved ruins include ancient walls, floor mosaics and pillars bearing inscriptions that date back thousands of years ago.

For those who love archaeology and want to learn more about the city's past, a visit to Praetorium is an absolute must-see attraction while exploring Cologne’s top historic landmarks.

Altstadt (Old Town)