Watertravel & Waterside DestinationsPeople relax and eat lunch at midday in the waterfront park in Cologne.

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Cologne (Köln)

When Julius Caesar’s invading army arrived in what is now Germany, roughly six decades BCE, they got a mixed and mostly hostile reception.

Some tribes were defeated militarily in short order. Decades later, in the Teutoburger Forest, the tables turned and the Roman legions were beaten badly by the Germanen.

The tribe known as Ubii, by contrast, welcomed them enthusiastically. They were moved by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa from the west to the east bank of the Rhine as a protection against the Suebi tribe, who were hostile to the Roman invaders and by association to the Ubii. Their new home was a piece of land which is now downtown Cologne. People enjoy a spring day outdoors in Cologne/Köln. They even changed the name of their tribe from Ubii to Agrippenses. The settlement grew into a full-fledged colonial city, one of the largest north of the Alps. At a spot near the great river the Ubii/Agrippenses had a place of worship, and from that the city got the name Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium, meaning “Claudius’ Colony by the Altar of the Agrippenses.” The temple, built for the veneration of Roman gods, occupied the place where we now find the Cologne Cathedral and the Romano-Germanic Museum.

Like Nijmegen and Xanten, Cologne has been continuously occupied and growing since Roman times. The city today is both one of the most important and one of the most festive in Germany. People from all over the world are drawn not only to its cathedral and museum but also to its restaurants, pubs and party atmosphere. While visiting Cologne, many people stop by at at Glockengasse 4711, where Eau de Cologne originated.

For more on the history of Cologne check here and here.

Tourists board a tram for an excursion around Cologne.
Copyright © Don Douglas