Thursday, April 12, 2012

K is for ... Kölner Dom

How's my mental health today?

Other than feeling physically and mentally exhausted, I'm doing OK. I just have to push myself a little harder, especially when it's time to write my A-Z blogs.

Today is the K day and my word for the day is Kölner Dom. I know it's not English, but I didn't see anything in the guidelines against using more than one language in my post. So on with Kölner Dom known as the Cologne Cathedral in English.

I have been in Köln (Cologne) twice; the first time in 1969, and then again in 1984. The 1984 visit to Cologne was brief stop. We were on our way to Amsterdam and had to switch trains which meant we had to wait a couple of hours. Since the train station was across the street from the Cathedral, we went for a quick look.

In 1969 my sister and I traveled to Germany for a ten week stay. It was the first time we went to Germany (where we had a lot of relatives). One of our aunts took us on a trip to the North Rhein-Westphalia region of Germany. We stopped in Cologne for a tour of the Cathedral. There were two things about that visit that have stuck in my mind.

As we were walking to the Cathedral we noticed construction almost all around the "Dom". We learned that Cologne was building a Subway system and one of the stations was planned very near the Cathedral. As the excavating began various old ruins were found.

Archaeologists were called in and the construction on the subway was suspended until the old ruins had all been unearthed. The archaeologists put up signs labeling the various discoveries so all pedestrians could see what the dig had revealed. The two signs at the front of the picture identify ruins from the Middle Ages and Roman times.

We went into the Cathedral and walked around. My aunt suggested we climb up the stairs into one of the bell towers. We didn't know what we were in for. Five hundred and nine steps up a narrow spiral staircase. As we went up, others came down on the very same worn stone steps. Going up we were on the wide part of the stairs; coming down felt more treacherous because the steps were so narrow and worn that a slip would have caused mayhem. When we got to the top of the stairs we were assaulted by the bells that started to ring; marking the noon hour. It was loud; and the bells rang for what seemed a long time. It left a lasting impression on us.

View from the bell tower. I tried taking a picture of the bells but it didn't turn out due to the lack of light.

A view of the ornately decorated flying buttresses at the back and sides of the cathedral.

He who has seen one cathedral ten times has seen something; he who has seen ten cathedrals once has seen but little; and he who has spent half an hour in each of a hundred cathedrals has seen nothing at all.
~~ Sinclair Lewis


  1. What a fantastic cathedral. Great pictures.

  2. Loved this post! Thought your choice for "K" was unique and perfect, and the story was great, supported wonderfully by the pictures...although the one from the bell tower made my stomach clench, as did your description of the narrow stairs on the way down and the possibilities of slipping! I might just have had to stay up in the bell tower for life...! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Great post, great pictures and great quotes at the end!

  4. Absolutely fascinating. I love the photos and the details, and I too, love the quote at the end.