At 157 meters (515
feet), Cologne’s Hohe Domkirche St. Peter und Maria is the
third largest Gothic cathedral in the world (after Seville and Milan).
Actually, for the
eight year period from 1880 to '88, it was the
tallest building of any type in the world. The ground it sits on was
the site of a house of worship long
before the cathedral was constructed, first as a Roman temple, then an
early Christian church.
The present structure
took over six centuries to build. Begun in the year 1248, the building
was stopped in 1510
because of lack of funds. With financial aid of the Prussian king
Friedrich Wilhelm IV and Archbishop Johannes von Geissel, construction
was resumed in 1842 and completed in 1880. The facade with the
twin towers is impressive in its scale and intricacy. Inside the
cathedral is what
many would consider to be the most important shrine of the western
Shrine of the Magi, said to hold the remains of the Three Wise Men.