August 2, 2013

0665 & 0779 GERMANY (North Rhine-Westphalia) - Cologne Cathedral (UNESCO WHS)

Posted on 03.06.2013 and completed on 02.08.2013
With 157,4m height, Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom), dedicated to St. Peter, is the tallest Roman Catholic cathedral in the world. In 1248, when was commenced its construction, the site had been occupied by several previous structures, the earliest been a grain store, succeeded by a Roman temple. Nothing strange, because the city was built by Romans in 50 AD, Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium becoming the provincial capital of Germania Inferior in 85 AD. The work to the cathedral was halted in 1473, leaving the south tower complete up to the belfry level and crowned with a huge crane that remained in place as a landmark of the Cologne skyline for 400 years.

Work has resumed in the 19th century, the building being completed in 1880. The enormous costs (over US$ 1 billion in today's money) were supported in the proportion of two-thirds through civic effort, while the Prussian state supplied the remaining third. During the WWII the cathedral suffered seventy hits by aerial bombs, but didn't collapse. The repairs were completed in 1956, and in 1995 Cologne Cathedral became an UNESCO WHS. Today is Germany's most visited landmark, attracting an average of 20,000 people a day.

The design of the cathedral was based quite closely on that of Amiens Cathedral. The most celebrated work of art in it is the Shrine of the Three Kings, built in 12th century. It's traditionally believed to hold the remains of the Three Wise Men, whose relics were acquired by Frederick Barbarossa at the conquest of Milan in 1164. The cathedral has eleven church bells, four of which are medieval.

About the stamps
On the first postcard
The stamp, illustrating St. Peter's Cathedral of Regensburg, is part of a series of two, about which I wrote here.

On the second postcard
All five stamps are cross-shaped self-adhesives stamps. The ones with the face value 0.20 EUR (depicting a birch bud) and 0.30 EUR (depicting a birch leaf) are a series about which I wrote here. The others, with the face value 0,05 EUR and 0.10 EUR, are part of a series depicting the Finnish Archipelago, about which I wrote also here.

Cologne Cathedral - Wikipedia

sender: Stefan / wurzelchen (postcrossing)
sent from Cologne (North Rhine-Westphalia / Germany), on 26.10.2012
foto: Schultz / Kilian
sender: Mervi Lampi (won to a lottery)
sent from Hämeenlinna (Tavastia Proper / Finland), on 24.07.2013
foto: Rainer Gaertner

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