This very old cathedral city on the river Rhine is one of the most important commercial and cultural centers in western Germany. Cologne (Köln in German) is famous for its 12 great Romanesque churches - especially the magnificent Cologne Cathedral - all an easy walk from the historic Old Town. Its university is one of the oldest and largest in Europe.
Cologne can trace its roots back to the first century AD, when it was established as a Roman provincial capital and military stronghold, and one of its most appealing features for tourists is that it retains elements from all the various periods of its long history. Among its attractions are Roman remains, medieval churches, Baroque palaces, and museums that reflect such diverse subjects as its darker times in the mid-20th century and the various products for which it is known: fragrances, mustard, and chocolate.