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City Profile: Cologne

Covering both banks of the Rhine and home to over a million people, Cologne is the largest city in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Cologne Carnival

Carnival in Germany
Carnival revelers celebrate the start of Carnival season in Cologne, Germany, 11 November 2014. Carnival officially starts on 11.11 at 11:11. Photo: ROLF�VENNENBERND/dpa© picture alliance / dpa

Once a year, the streets of Cologne fill with people in colourful costumes, and the entire city turns into one big party! The Carnival season (known as the 'fifth season' in Germany) starts in November, but the main celebrations takes place from Fat Thursday to Ash Wednesday each year, traditionally marking the start of Lent. People stream in from all over the world to dress up, see spectacular parades featuring elaborate floats, and generally have a good time! The lively Zülpicher Straße, home to lots of bars, is a great place to start.

Find out more here: http://www.cologne.de/events/cologne-carnival

Cologne Cathedral

A view of Cologne Cathedral
A view of Cologne Cathedral© picture alliance / blickwinkel/E

The Cathedral is the city's most iconic landmark, and attracts more than six million visitors a year - making it one of Germany's most popular tourist sites. Today, Cologne Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne, and has also been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As well as the Cathedral itself, you can also take a look at its 'Schatzkammer' or 'Treasure Chamber', which contains a whole range of beautiful objects - some of which date back to the 4th century. Another must is a trip to the top of the Cathedral tower - at 533 steps, it's quite a climb, but the summit affords a wonderful view of the city.

More information can be found here: http://www.koelner-dom.de/index.php?id=19173&L=1

The Chocolate Museum

A chocolate-making demonstration at the Chocolate Museum in Cologne
A demonstration of chocolate-making at the Chocolate Museum in Cologne© picture alliance / Rainer Hacken

Chocaholics take note - if you've always wanted to learn more about how chocolate is made, then treat yourself to a visit to the Imhoff Chocolate Museum, located on an artificial island in the Rhine. As well as finding out about how chocolate is produced, you can sample the museum's enormous chocolate fountain.

You can learn more here (in German only): http://www.schokoladenmuseum.de/start.html

Kölsch beer

Kölsch beer is served in bar in Cologne
Kölsch beer is served in bar in Cologne© picture alliance / Oliver Berg

Kölsch or Koelsch is a local speciality, brewed in Cologne. In comparison to other German beers, it has something of a milder flavour - why not try it out for yourself?

Culture and arts

The Romano-Germanic Museum in Cologne
The Romano-Germanic Museum in Cologne© picture alliance

If you are interested in concerts, sport events or arts, then Cologne is the city for you. The Romano-Germanic Museum is a particular highlight - here you can take a look at a variety of Roman artefacts and learn about the founding of the city.

More information about cultural events is to be found here: http://www.cologne-tourism.com/attractions-culture.html