Surprising Facts about Cologne

Most visitors to Germany will probably head straight to Berlin or Munich, but there is another city that offers some truly unique experiences and that city is Cologne. Cologne is the biggest city in the North Rhine-Westphalia region and the fourth largest in the whole of Germany. You may have visited before but even if you have, here are ten interesting facts that you might not know about this metropolitan city on the Rhine.

€ 10 billion cathedral

Cologne Cathedral is one of Cologne’s most visited attractions and is certainly stunning (after being built more than 600 years ago). It is also the second highest church in Germany and the third highest in the whole world. If you were to build this cathedral again today, it would cost € 10 billion, according to figures given by an expert.

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Go (Cologne-bridge) Green!

In 1929, during the building of the Mülheimer Brücke bridge, Konrad Adenauer, the mayor wanted to design a new green colour, and thus “Kölner Brückengrün” or “Kölner Grün” were created.

Five of the eight bridges above the Cologne section on the Rhine were painted in this green, but only bridges managed by the City of Cologne are still painted in this unique and iconic green shade. In fact, they are not allowed to be painted with other colours. Come and see them with your own eyes with Irish Airports like

Cologne, we might have a problem!

Cologne Airport has the only runway in Germany which was also the location of an emergency landing for the NASA space shuttle. The shuttle required this emergency runway because if it had landed in the water, the shuttle would have broken apart.

When the first transport departed for space in the 1980s, 60 emergency runways were built throughout the world; with runways required to be at least 2.3 km long and 40 m wide.

Before each mission, NASA speaks with the control tower at the Cologne airport, to confirm if the runway is free and to update the airport the airport with important information.

Beer rule

You know Germans are serious about their beer, but you probably don’t know how serious Cologne is about Kölsch. Beer, which was produced in 13 factories around Cologne, was not permitted to be made outside the area, thanks to the rules set out in the 1985 Kölsch Convention. The convention also stated that beer can only be called “Kölsch” if it was made from the highest fermented pale beer produced in the Cologne region.

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First soybean sausage

Konrad Adenauer did many things – he was Mayor of Cologne between 1917 and 1933, and served as the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) between 1949 and 1963 – but fans of meat-free sausages had him to thank the first Sojawurst idea, or Wurst ohne Fleisch. Adenauer was responsible for ensuring people in Cologne did not starve in the First World War and developed meat-free sausages when the cost of pork passed through the roof. Unfortunately, the Imperial Patent Office rejected the idea of ​​Adenauer’s meat-free sausage, but he finally managed to patent it in Austria.