Dedicated to the Saints Peter and Mary, Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) is the seat of the Catholic Archbishop of Cologne.The Cathedral’s main treasure is a golden reliquary containing the remains of the Three Magi of Christmas story fame. Cologne Cathedral stands on the site of a 4th century Roman temple, followed by a square church known as the “oldest cathedral” commissioned by Maternus, the first Christian bishop of Cologne. A second church built on the site, the “Old Cathedral,” was completed in 818. This burned down on April 30, 1248.Construction of the Present Gothic Church began in the 13th century and took, with interruptions, more than 600 years to complete. The new structure was built to house the relics of the Three Magi, taken from Milan by Holy Roman Emperor Fredrick Barbarossa and given to the Archbishop of Cologne, Rainald von Dasselin 1164. The completion of Germany’s largest cathedral was celebrated as a national event in 1880; 632 years after construction had begun.
The Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) suffered 14 hits by World War II aerial bombs but did not collapse and reconstruction was completed in 1956. The Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) is 144.5 meters (474 ft) long, 86.5 m (284 ft) wide and its towers are approximately 157 m (515 ft) tall. In 1996, the cathedral was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List of culturally important sites and in 2004, it was placed on the “World Heritage in Danger” list.