Bones of the Magi
August 15, 1248 - Construction began on this day for the magnificent Cologne Cathedral. This massive monument to Catholicism would take over 600 years to complete. For 4 years (from 1880 to 1884) it was the tallest structure in the world - only to be surpassed by the Washington Monument.
The main purpose of the cathedral was to provide a suitable home for the Shrine of the Three Kings. This brilliantly gilded sarcophagus supposedly holds the 2000-year-old bones and clothes of the Three Wise Men who came bearing gifts for Jesus.
Other interesting attractions are a 10.5-ton bell that's been there since the 1400s, and the 24-ton Bell of St. Peter - the largest free-swinging bell in the world.
During World War II, the cathedral survived over seventy hits from aerial bombs.
Every day over 30,000 people visit Cologne Cathedral.