Monday, July 21, 2008

An Old City, Rebuilt . . .

I wanted to write a blog post not so much about what I am doing, but with a little bit of the history of Cologne. One thing that is exciting about Europe is the immense amount of history that is within it. Talking about an old house in the United States might mean that it is fourty to eighty years old. Talking about an old house here in Germany, may mean that the house is a hundred to three hundred years old, or possibly more. I wish that the same could be said for Cologne, but the truth is I can't. Most buildings here are no older than forty to sixty years maximum.

During World War II, along with much of Germany, Cologne took a serious hit by the American military.  Virtually the entire city was completely leveled to the ground, leaving only the cathedral standing in the middle still intact.  That is one thing that is strange about this city, is that so much here is new, but in the middle is a humongous piece of architecture that is extremely old.  Although the cathedral was finished in 1890, the construction actually began in 1248.  The office that I work is about a 2 minute walk to the Cathedral (known here as the "Dom"), and can be seen from most parts of the city.  

Here I have posted a video that I have found on youtube showing tanks in WWII moving throughout the city.  You can see the immense amount of destruction that took place.  The video is slightly graphic, so you are warned.  This is actual wartime footage taken by American troops.

In the video, the tanks are moving through right where I work here. Now this area is full of trendy shops and restaurants, and definitely not the buildings of old. You can also see a couple of other structures that still exist here. There are pictures of another church that still stands here, and you can also see a castle-like structure that is still here in the city, also embedded within all of the new cityscape.

More posts coming soon! Thanks for reading, I enjoy reading the comments!


Jennifer said...

I would love to see a picture taken from this video and placed beside a picture of today's Cologne. Just in case you're looking for a project :) I hope you're loving your time there!!

Keely said...

man even though you wrote it was real it just doesn't seem real you know? hope you are well!

mary said...

thanks Andrew, I am amazed at how much you are gaining from this trip. Your blogs are so informative and are so packed with good information for us all. Thanks for sharing.