The first known bishop of Koln, Maternus, was mentioned in documents of 313/4. Excavations since the Second World War have revealed that on the site of the current site there previously existed a structure with a double choir measuring around 95 meters (1312 feet) in length. This older structure appears to have been consecrated in 870.
In 1164, Archbishop Rainald von Dassel transferred from Milan the bones of the Three Maggi into this older cathdral. A reliquary was commissioned to house the relics and work on the reliquary probably began during the reign of Rainalds sucessor - Phillip von Heinsberg. It is presumed that the goldsmith Nicolas from Verdun was involved in this splendid work which was finished in 1225.
The relics of the Three Magi drew the faithful from all over Europe and the Cologne Pilgrmage became one of the biggest during the Middle Ages. Consequently, the under the direction of Archbishop Konrad von Hochstaden it was decided in 1248 to build a new structure suitable for such an important pilgramage. In order to achieve this, the architect turned to the then modern "Gothic" style of architecture - style becoming popular in France but yet to replace the Romanesque style in Germany.
The radiating chapels and the ambulatory of the new structure were completed around 1265. The first art objects of the east side also date from around this time. The east side was finished by 1300 and consecration took place in 1322, after which the pace of construction slowed. The south tower was begun in 1360 and was only completed to it's second story. The University of Cologne was founded in 1388, at which time the two south side-aisels of the nave were in use.
According to a C15 document, the Shrine of the Three Maggi was due to be placed at the crossing of the completed Cathedral. It has only been located in its current position since 1948.
Construction of the Cathedral was completed in 1880, having recommenced in the 19th Century, when Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia laid a groundstone in 1842. Construction commenced as it had halted in 1560 and the final stone was placed atop the South Tower in the presence of Emperor Wilhelm I.
Spa Francorchamps - Eau Rouge - The famous Eau Rouge at the Spa Francorchamps formular one circuit
Spa Francorchamps - Felipe Massa at the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix - Felipe Massa goes through Eau Rouge in a Ferrari at the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix
Spa Francorchamps - Jenson Button at the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix - Jenson Button in his Maclaren Mercedes at the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix
Spa Francorchamps - Jenson Button at the Belgian Grand Prix drivers parade - Jenson Button at the drivers parade of the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix
Spa Francorchamps - Mark Webber at Eau Rouge in the 2012 Grand Prix - Mark Webber in his Red Bull goes through Eau Rouge at the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix
Spa Francorchamps - the view from Eau Rouge - View of the Spa Francorchamps circuit seen from the Gold 3 stand at Eau Rouge
Spa Francorchamps - Alonso at Eau Rouge for the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix Qualifying - Fernando Alonso at Eau Rouge at the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix qualifying session at the Spa Francorchamps circuit
Spa Francorchamps - Massa and Hamilton enter Eau Rouge - Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton at Eau Rouge at the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix qualifying session
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Mark Sukhija is a travel and wine blogger, photographer, tourism researcher, hat-touting, white-shirt-wearing, New Zealand fantatic and eclipse chaser. Aside from at least annual visits to New Zealand, Mark has seen eclipses in South Australia (2002), Libya (2006), China (2009) and Queensland (2012). After twelve years in Switzerland, Mark moved back to London in 2012. You can follow Mark on Twitter or Facebook