Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom)

The Dom in all its Gothic glory.
Everyone knows most major cities have iconic buildings you must visit: Taipei 101 in Taipei; the Empire State Building in New York City; the Eiffel Tower in Paris, etc. For Cologne, it's the Cologne Cathedral, also known as the Dom. 

The Dom towers over downtown. I say "towers" rather reluctantly since you can feel yourself under its shadow as if its something menacing - and it does look menacing because of it's Gothic appearance. Yet, at the same time, the Dom is a church, so perhaps "protective" would be a better way to describe it's presence. Either way, you can't miss it even if you tried. I don't know why you would avoid it. Even if you aren't an architecture buff or of religious persuasion, a short one hour stop at the Dom is worth it. A person can't even make an excuse for not visiting it since it's across the way from the main station.

There was scaffolding on the Dom.
It must take a lot of work to keep it looking
nice despite its age.
Another awesome thing about going to the Dom is the fact that it's completely free to visit. You can come inside and walk around for no cost, but naturally, the church takes donations. Visitors can also buy a candle if they'd like. There are, of course, parts of the Dom which are not open to the public, and some portions are only open at certain times for an admission fee. If you want to see some of the catacombs, there is a certain time you must visit (no later than 5pm if I remember correctly) and it costs 10 Euros per person to get in. However...the catacombs look extremely creepy! I was all up for seeing them until I got to the door. At the time we arrived, they were closed anyhow.

In my opinion though, there is enough to see in the free public area of the Dom. There is intricate artwork on display, and it's easy to get lost looking at the amazing architecture in the church.

The colors here are brilliant!
I'm a sucker for stained glass.
This window was breathtaking!
This fold out piece depicts the Stations of the Cross.
The ceiling seems to be endless.
The organ is located in the center below the window.
It was placed high up for acoustic purposes.
A shot of the pews.
I reckon the Dom can seat hundreds as this
is not the only section of pews.
As dark as the Dom appears to be,
there are several windows which let the light flood
in when the sun is out.
In short, the Cologne Cathedral is a destination not to be missed. I think it's one of the best examples of Gothic architecture in the world!

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