Cologne's Western Altstadt (Old Town)
Cologne's Western Altstadt, or western part of the old town, has its fair share of attractions as well. mong these is the Kölnische Stadtmuseum (Cologne City Musum) at Zeughausstraße 1-3, which houses an eclectic collection of items related to Cologne’s history from the Middle Ages to the present. Items include armor, scale models and paintings, religious objects, and cars – interstingly, Ford has a major factory in Cologne. The museum itself is housed in the Renaissance Zeughaus with red and white window shutters – the large windows actually allow some displays to be seen from the street, adding to the passersby interest. In any case, the museum is an enjoyable experience for all ages. The admission fee includes a handy English audio guide.
A few blocks farther west is the fascinating St Gereon Church, Geronsdriesch (entrance in Christopherstraße). It combines Late Roman, fourth-century oval building style elements with a Late Romanesque, 13th-century decagon cupola. The monumental cupola was the largest built between the construction of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul and the Renaissance Duomo in Florence. The 13th-century baptismal chapel has some original wall paintings of St Gereon. Following reconstruction after World War II, modern stained glass windows by Georg Meistermann and Wilhelm Buschulkte were added to the cupola.
The Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln, Neumarkt 18-24, opened in 1985 as the first museum dedicated to this 20th-century artist. It has the largest collection in the world of her works. Special exhibitions are regularly held with works from artists associated with her work and ideas. Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945) was the first female art professor at the Prussian Academy in Berlin and dedicated her life and works to the causes of peace and social justice.
St Aposteln, Apostelnkloster at Neumarkt, is another typical Rhineland Romanesque church with trefoil chancel. The latter was probably added around 1200 after a fire destroyed part of the original 11th-century church. It has an octagonal tower above the transept and a lovely gallery with blind arcading.
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