Cologne (Köln in German) is famous for its 12 great Romanesque churches, especially the magnificent Cologne Cathedral, all within an easy walk of 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.
In fact, one of its most appealing features for tourists is that it retains elements from all the various periods of its long history. Among its many 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. Cologne's importance never really slowed, and today, the city remains one of Germany's most important cultural centers.
To this end, it's home to numerous art and entertainment facilities, along with more than 100 galleries and at least three dozen museums. It's also a popular place to shop, especially along pedestrian-friendly streets such as Hohe Straße and Schildergasse.