Cologne (German : Köln), west central Germany

City on the Rhine River  in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Cologne's location at the point where the Rhine crosses the overland route from Paris to northern Germany, and also at the junction of many roads along the Rhine, has given the city great commercial importance.

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Cologne is a railroad center and a major port. Manufactures in the city include metal goods, motor vehicles, chemicals, textiles, pharmaceuticals, printed materials, chocolate, and a famous type of perfumed liquid, eau de cologne. The city has one of Europe's largest commercial trade-fair facilities.

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Serious flooding in 1993 damaged part of the city's center, and an ever bigger flood hit Cologne in early 1995, causing further destruction. The Rhine's water levels in 1995 were the highest recorded in the city in more than 200 years.

Cologne was severely damaged during World War II (1939-1945)—more than 90 percent of the structures were destroyed or damaged—but it was largely rebuilt and modernized by 1960. Population (1992 estimate) 958,600.

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Cologne is noted for its university, founded in 1388, and for its churches.

Among other notable buildings in Cologne are the old city hall, the central and oldest part of which dates from the 14th century; the Gürzenich (mid-15th century), formerly a meeting place for merchants and now a concert hall; and a modern opera house.

Museums in the city include the Roman-Germanic Museum; the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, with notable displays of medieval and modern painting, and of the history of photography; the Schnütgen Museum, with a rich collection of ivory carvings and religious art; the Museum of East Asian Art; the Museum of Applied Arts; and a historical museum.

Cologne has a zoo, an aquarium, and a botanical garden.

The city is the site of an annual pre-Lenten festival.

Cologne was originally a town of the Ubii, a Germanic tribe, and was then called Oppidum Ubiorum. The Romans established a garrison on the site in the 1st century BC. In AD 50, Roman Emperor Claudius I founded a colony here and named it Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensis after his wife, Agrippina, a native of the town. In Roman days the town was a rectangular tract surrounded by walls. Medieval Cologne was crescent shaped and was enclosed by a rampart, walls, and gates. Inside these fortifications was a maze of narrow, crooked streets. Between 1881 and 1885 the fortifications were razed and a circular boulevard, the Ringstrasse, was constructed on their site. Beyond the Ringstrasse is the modern part of Cologne. Across the Rhine is the suburb of Deutz, which is linked with Cologne by several bridges.

The archbishop of Cologne was recognized as elector of the Holy Roman Empire by an edict, the Golden Bull of 1356. Cologne was an important member of the commercial federation known as the Hanseatic League. Control of Cologne passed to Prussia in 1815 and the city subsequently grew as an industrial center.

cities near Cologne:

Essen Dortmund Duisburg Dusseldorf Frankfurt
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