The Rhine and Cologne Germany about 1892

THE RHINE AND COLOGNE GERMANY — Of all the cities on the Rhine, Cologne is the wealthiest and most renowned. It has played quite a role even in Roman history. Here Trajan received the summons to assume the Imperial purple. Here Vitellus and Silvanus were proclaimed Emperors; and here the latter was murdered by his cohorts. Here also, in the camp of Germanicus, was born Agrippina, the mother of Nero; and she, retaining an affection for her birthplace, sent here in after years a colony of Roman veterans, and gave it her name, Colonia Agrippina, whence comes the modern name Cologne. A multitude of churches greets the eye as one surveys this city from the Rhine, but of course its crowning feature is its glorious cathedral in the foreground. Those who beheld that building fifteen years ago would hardly recognize it now. Massive indeed it was and vast, but looking somewhat like the hull of an enormous ship without its masts, since its great towers lacked completion. But now it has a glory and a majesty which lift it heavenward above all other churches in the world. It is unquestionably the most magnificent Gothic edifice upon the surface of our globe. Begun in 1248, it was not completed till 1883. The last stone was placed in its position, amid impressive ceremonies, in the presence of the old Emperor William and nearly all the Princes of Germany. Its towers reach an altitude of 511 feet! The nave is 145 feet high from floor to roof! It is impossible to gaze on certain parts of either the exterior or interior of this stupendous structure without feeling well-nigh crushed by an overpowering realization of the sublime. (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)


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