Cologne Cathedral - Cologne
Wikipedia: “Cologne Cathedral, officially Hohe Domkirche Sankt Petrus (English: Cathedral Church of Saint Peter), is a Catholic cathedral in Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne and of the administration of the Archdiocese of Cologne. It is a renowned monument of German Catholicism and Gothic architecture and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1996. It is Germany's most visited landmark, attracting an average of 20,000 people a day, and currently the tallest twin-spired church at 157 m (515 ft) tall, second in Europe after the Ulm Cathedral and third in the world.
"Construction of Cologne Cathedral began in 1248 but was halted in 1473, unfinished. Work did not restart until the 1840s, and the edifice was completed to its original Medieval plan in 1880. The cathedral is the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe and has the second-tallest spires. The towers for its two huge spires give the cathedral the largest façade of any church in the world. The choir has the largest height to width ratio, 3.6:1, of any medieval church.
"Cologne's medieval builders had planned a grand structure to house the reliquary of the Three Kings and fit its role as a place of worship for the Holy Roman Emperor. Despite having been left incomplete during the medieval period, Cologne Cathedral eventually became unified as 'a masterpiece of exceptional intrinsic value' and 'a powerful testimony to the strength and persistence of Christian belief in medieval and modern Europe'.
"The cathedral suffered fourteen hits by aerial bombs during World War II. Badly damaged, it nevertheless remained standing in an otherwise completely flattened city. The twin spires were an easily recognizable navigational landmark for Allied aircraft bombing.
"On March 6, 1945, an area west of the cathedral (Marzellenstrasse/Trankgasse) was the site of intense combat between American tanks of the 3rd Armored Division and a Panther [Panzer] Ausf. A of Panzer brigade 106 Feldherrnhalle. The Panther successfully knocked out a Sherman, killing three men, before it was destroyed by a T26E3 Pershing hours later. Footage of that battle survives. The destroyed Panther was later put on display at the base of the cathedral for the remainder of the war in Europe.
"Repairs were completed in 1956. An emergency repair to the base of the north-west tower, carried out in 1944 using poor-quality brick taken from a nearby ruined building, remained visible as a reminder of the war until 2005, when it was decided to restore the section to its original appearance. The brick-filling can be seen in the photograph on the right."
Following are HDR photos taken of the interior.