No Bathtubs in Koln

More than a million CHRISTIANS lived in Koln prior to WWII.  OFFICIALLY, only 40,000 of them survived, so in this one German city, 960,000 Christians, mostly CIVILIANS, were killed in firebombing whose flames were so intense that they threatened our bombers flying at 22,500 feet, almost five miles overhead.

Some claim that most civilians were evacuated, but:

  1. No German had any warning that and when Koln would be firebombed to oblivion like this.

  2. On the contrary, wounded soldiers, doctors, nurses, and others unable to fight in the war, traveled to cities like Koln in the mistaken belief that these cities would be a safe refuge.

  3. The population MIGHT have been double or triple the ordinary population.

  4. By the time the Allied intentions were known, the city was in flames and it was too late to evacuate anyone.

  5. Anyone who might have miraculously survived the flames themselves would have been suffocated by the oxygen starved atmosphere.

 

THE DOME

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THE DOME AND CENTRAL KOLN

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CITY TRIANGLE IN KOLN

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CENTRAL KOLN

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THE DOME, BRIDGES, AND DOWNTOWN KOLN

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BRIDGES IN KOLN

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MORE BRIDGES IN KOLN

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SCHOOL IN KOLN

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INDUSTRIAL KOLN

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APARTMENT COMPLEX IN KOLN

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AUTOBAHN

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FLAK

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POW CAMP

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POW'S

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MODERN KOLN

 

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http://www.footloosetravel.com/photopage50.html

This photo of he Dom located in the city of Koln (Cologne) was taken on my very first trip to Europe. I really wanted to visit this immense cathedral not only because of its sheer size and historic significance, but also because of the cathedral's role during World War II. The city of Koln was bombed heavily during the war. The only structure left standing was the Dom. Everything around the huge edifice was utterly destroyed. A now famous photograph captures the aftermath of the bombing campaign. Although the roof collapsed and the Dom suffered a lot of damage, it still stood amongst utter destruction. Today, you can still see the scars of war on the Dom's facade. Acid rain is the primary threat today. Preserving the Dom is needless to say an ongoing process. 

The Dom was began more than seven centuries ago, and it was not completed until 1880. Upon completion, it was the tallest man made structure in the world. The Dom is immense. As you soon as you arrive in Koln, the Dom overwhelms you. It's size becomes real apparent as you exit from the train station. The Dom is not a pretty building. It has been darkened from years of pollution and scarred severely from war.

At sunset on a clear day (not real common in Germany), the front of the Dom undergoes a magical transformation. It is as if a magician took a magic wand and transformed the darkened stone into a golden medley of patterns and designs. The change is remarkable and is one of those little surprises I like to tell other travelers. I am glad I had my 24 mm wide angled lens with me at the time. I had a tough time getting the entire structure on film, but my efforts were well worth it.

Koln is a neat city and is underrated by most travelers. There is plenty to see and do in this very modern and vibrant German city. The art scene in Koln is formidable. There are some fine museums offering the visitor plenty of interesting options. Moreover, there are a lot of good restaurants to choose from which won't break your budget. I really like Kolsch beer. Unlike most German beers, the glasses are small, but the taste is refreshing. Koln is a party town, so if you like staying out late, Koln is for you. You won't have any problems meeting locals and finding a dance floor.

No matter what your interests are, Koln is a worthy visit and in my view really provides a fine view into modern day Germany as well as a fascinating look into its past. 

 

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