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The Cologne Bay

At Bad Honnef, just behind the border between Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia, where the Lower Middle Rhine Valley widens into the Rhenish Plain, the Rhine leaves the Rhenish Slate Mountains as the Middle Rhine 
  and flows past the Siebengebirge as the Lower Rhine into the plain of the North German lowlands that extends to the North Sea.
Seen from the south, the rising mountain ranges of the Eifel and Vennvorland on the left bank of the Rhine and the Bergisches Land on the right bank of the Rhine form a funnel opening to the northwest, which, viewed from the north, is the southern end of the North German lowlands - the Cologne Baywhich stretches from the federal city of Bonn in the south to the imperial city of Aachen in the west and to the state capital Düsseldorf in the northeast and is historically named after the city of Cologne. 
 Today's landscape was formed about seven million years ago. With the uplift of the slate mountains, valleys of the Rhine and its tributaries cut into the main terraces. The terraces were created in the millions of years before by deposited sediments from the southern low mountain ranges and Alps, which the Rhine and Maas brought with them when they dug through the rock. Where the water flowed quickly, sand and gravel settled; where it slowed down, clay remained. Even today, the bay sinks and expands into the Middle Rhine, which is less visible, but noticeable from time to time, because the region is one of the most active earthquake areas north of the Alps. The rocks of the Rhenish Slate Mountains, which are permeated by tectonic faults, lie at a depth of a good 1,000 meters.
As is typical for a lowland, there are no major elevations in the Cologne Bay with which Ville but a natural ridge that runs from the Eifel north to Grevenbroich and drops from a height of 180 meters to 70 meters. The Sophienhöhe, a little over 300 meters high to the east of Jülich, and the almost 100 meters lower Glessener Höhe near Bergheim, are artificial mountains as spoil heaps from the opencast mines. 
 In the southern part the transition runs from the plains of the bay to the mountains of the Eifel and Vennvorland, the middle and the north are characterized by the flat Börde zones and river depressions such as the Erft valley with its floodplain forests, but also by the large open-cast mines and mine dumps. With the rising Bergisches Land, the natural eastern border of the Cologne Bay is visible in contrast to the transition into the Lower Rhine lowlands.
The region * is extremely diverse in terms of its landscape. Power stations and industrial plants are within sight of growing settlements and densely populated urban areas, but also forests, meadows and heaths, floodplains, lakes and rivers, as well as fruit plantations and wide fields on which, thanks to the fertile loess soil of the Bördeland, grain, fruit, vegetables or potatoes thrive, and for that reason the maritime climate with generally cool summers and relatively mild winters also contributes. 
* The Cologne Bay is not a classic administrative region, but a natural area. For ecological characterization, Germany is divided into natural spatial units, which are determined by the climate of a geographical area, soil, water balance, rocks and their storage as well as vegetation. Large areas are the North German lowlands on the North Sea and Baltic Sea, the low mountain range threshold and the Alps with the Alpine foothills in the south. In this system of phenological and climatological parameters, the Cologne Bay in the large landscape of the North German Lowlands forms a natural spatial upper unit with the Jülich Börde, the Zülpicher Börde, the Ville, the Cologne-Bonn Rhine Plain with the central terrace on the left bank of the Rhine and the Bergische Heide Terrace as sub-units.

 In the east he lays Rhine on its way from the Alps to the North Sea back a good 100 kilometers through the Cologne Bay. In doing so, the artists of the painting, writing and singing guild often use their "oh so blue tides”Evoked river from different sides: friendly and inviting on the groynes and Rhine meadows, inspiring as a source for feelings of home and romantic touches in the light of sunrises and sunsets, busy as a freight and transport route, gloomy in the rain in front of the industrial plants as well as destructive and threatening at high tide.
With Erft, victory, Rur and In the Other rivers shape the region, after which cities, districts and buildings are named. Especially the Erft matters. It flows from the northern Eifel across the Cologne Bay to the north, turns right at Grevenbroich and flows into the Rhine after a good 107 kilometers at Neuss. Up to Bergheim the Erft is a leisurely flowing low mountain range, from the middle section it resembles a canal. Here it is in the service of the lignite opencast mines and power plants. Groundwater is pumped into the Erft so that the opencast mines are not flooded, Erft water is fed into the power plants for cooling, which means that the water temperature does not drop below 15 degrees. Of course, the Erft also has beautiful sides. The first artificial reinforcements were demolished and new floodplains were created. 

The origin of the white-gray clouds of smoke, which can be overlooked almost everywhere in the Cologne Bay, are the thermal power stations not far from the lignite opencast mines. The Rhenish district is the largest lignite deposit in Europe. It was formed with the retreat of the North Sea - which penetrated a good 60 million years ago into today's Bonn area - when plants sank in the water and mud of the moors and, due to the pressure of new layers, peat layers, in some cases several hundred meters thick, were pressed.

The large open-cast mines were once a sign of the boom in the economy, the blessing for the creation of jobs, the development and expansion of the region into an important industrial location and to cover the energy demand - today they have to be a symbol of human intervention in nature as well as the harmful effects on the climate.

The change in the landscape with the inevitable effects on nature was only one problem, the necessary relocation of places was a completely different one, as traditions and homes are also destroyed in the process. Garzweiler is probably the most famous of the places that no longer exist today. If the excavators withdraw, the landscape will be restored. But people rarely return to the places. This increases the proportion of green and water areas as well as forests compared to the time before the opencast mines. One of the now rather unknown examples of recultivation is the Kottenforst-Ville Nature Park, which today as part of the Rhineland Nature Park is a popular local recreation destination. 

In the Cologne Bay, people do not only intervene in nature with the opencast mines. More and more fields, meadows and forests have to gradually give way to commercial space and new development areas along with bypass roads, as more and more people are relocating from the big cities to the surrounding area.

Today around 3.2 million people live in the Cologne Bay, 1.5 million of them in the independent cities of Bonn, Cologne and Leverkusen on the Rhine and 33 district towns and hundreds of municipalities in over eight districts.

The oldest traces of human life in the Cologne Bay are Paleolithic dwellings from around 100,000 BC. The oldest known settlement probably dates from around 5500 BC, when the band ceramists first settled as farmers. Forests are cleared to obtain arable land, construction timber and firewood. At around 3000 to 2500 BC, flint is being mined in what is today the Aachen city region. From 1200 BC the foothills of the urn field culture of the late Bronze Age reached the Rhineland. It replaces the culture of the barrows and 500 years later it becomes part of the Hallstatt culture. Celts arrived in the region around 500 BC. They build the first fortified as well as larger and city-like settlements until they are ousted by the Teutons. Around 100 BC, Eubors live in the Cologne Bay, which was incorporated into the Roman Empire with the conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar. 60 years later, the Ubier build the settlement Oppidum ubiorumwho became a colony under Roman law in the year 50 by Emperor Claudius Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium and is called Cologne today. The Romans build roads, bridges and canals, parts of their infrastructure are still recognizable today with large country roads and small architectural monuments in and between the cities. 
 After the Romans come the Franks and they too shape the region. Charlemagne chose the Aachen court as his residence and expanded it into an imperial palace with a palace. Many Roman fortresses are expanded into walled cities, the aristocracy and the Cologne archbishops erected magnificent buildings in the Middle Ages. A number of castles and palaces are built thanks to the periods that were favorable to the nobility. This ended abruptly with the French troops marching into the Rhineland in 1794. After the Wars of Liberation, the areas fell under Prussian administration, and with the establishment of the Federal Republic under the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Anyone who relocates to Cologne Bay from the north or northeast of North Rhine-Westphalia or another federal state will probably have to change and adapt a little with regard to their attitude to everyday life and life. Anyone who equates the famous Rhenish way of life, which is characterized by exuberance and cosiness, with carnival, art, culture, Kölsch and Klüngel, is fundamentally not so wrong, because all in all, this mixture in connection with a pronounced sense of home makes the special attitude to life in the Cologne Bay out. 
 This also includes socializing. At a well-groomed Kölsch or Bönnsch shows that the Rhinelander is uncomplicated, sociable and likes to make friends - which usually doesn't last much longer than the Kölsch or Bönnsch. A lack of knowledge or immodesty are regularly alien to him, any adversities in life are endured with stoic equanimity. His relationship with authorities and other authorities can be called at ease are designated. The Rhinelander know how to help each other, no matter who rules the region. Even the Ubians are said to have preferred to trade with the Romans rather than fought them. Napoleon's troops also encounter this equanimity. Asserting one's own interests is an attitude that continues to this day. Konrad Adenauer put it in a nutshell: "You know each other, you help each other”.

In line with its long history, there are a number of sights in the Cologne Bay: The large and small cities with the mostly well-preserved old towns and historical and modern buildings and structures, the villages with their village centers, a number of fortresses and facilities from the time of the Romans or later the French occupation and Prussian takeover.

At the top of the list of sights are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: In Brühl, Brühl Castle, built in 1725 on behalf of Cologne Archbishop August I of Bavaria, is also known as Brühl Castle Augustusburg Castle in addition to the palace park with the one built four years later Falkenlust hunting lodge as the most important buildings of the Baroque and Rococo periods in Germany


and in Cologne, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, the more than 157 meter high collegiate church of St. Peter and Mary of the rank of cathedral: the Cologne cathedral.

The construction of the cathedral took a total of 632 years. The foundation stone was laid in April 1248, and the choir stood after 74 years. In 1388 the south aisles were completed, in 1448 the first floors of the south tower and construction of the north aisles began. In 1560 the work was stopped, why is no longer known today. The fact that the cathedral was completed is mainly thanks to the Cologne painting collector and historian Sulpiz Boisserée. In 1816 in Paris he found half of a medieval facade plan by cathedral builder Johannes from around 1330 and advertised the continued construction in the city and country. It begins with repairs, as the building is in a precarious state due to the 282 years of neglect. In 1842 the building was actually continued, from 1869 with the help of steam engines. In July 1880, when the finial was placed on the north tower, the building of the cathedral was completed, which was officially celebrated in October.

In the Cologne Bay there are several churches that are also sights. The best known are, besides the cathedral in Cologne, the 12 Great Romanesque Churches, which are named large because of their historical importance. The one in Bonn was built around 1050 Munster basilica a collegiate church, its Romanesque Cloister from the 12th century, today the only well-preserved north of the Alps. In Schwarzrheindorf stands with the Double Church of St. Mary and Clement another important Romanesque building. The one built in 1627/28 towers above in Endeich Pilgrimage church on the Kreuzberg with the addition of the Holy Stairs by Baltasar Neumann the roofs of the city. 

 In Bedburg is the medieval village Old caster almost completely preserved, in Hennef the City of Blankenberg. Preserved or fortified systems from past centuries are the Customs zones at Dormagen or the Jülich Citadel. Also the Pedestrian zone in Bergheim is lined with historic buildings. Much older is in Euskirchen-Kreuzweingarten the remainder of the Roman aqueduct, through which Cologne was supplied with fresh water from the Eifel. In Bergisch Gladbach are these Bensberg town hall - a modern building integrated into an old castle complex - and that Bensberg Castle worth seeing in Siegburg downtown and the former Michaelsberg compartment.

In Bonn is right next to the Munster basilica which was built in the Rococo style Old City Hall on the market square, in the immediate vicinity Electoral Palace, today the main building of the university. The Old customs is a bastion of the former city fortifications like that Star gate at Bottlerplatz. The Poppelsdorf Castle and the Botanical gardens are located in the southern part of the city, which is the largest preserved in the western part of the city Wilhelminian style district Germany applies.

 The one built in 1210 towers over Bad Godesberg Godesburg, that too Godesberg Town Hall from 1790 is worth a visit. This also applies to the more modern part of the city in the former government district not far from the Rheinaue. There is the 162 meter high Post Tower, Deutsche Welle, the UN tower as well as that World Conference Center Bonn. Next door is the Rheinaue leisure parkwhich is almost as big as the city center.
In Cologne The cathedral is of course the top priority on a city walk. To the south lies the old town with the building complex of Philharmonic and Museum Ludwig, Rhine garden, Martinsviertel, Great Saint Martin and town hall - whose towers help shape the city panorama -, old market, Hay market, Gurzich, the memorial Saint Alban with the grieving parents of Käthe Kollwitz,  
  the Archaeological quarter and the Wallraf-Richartz Museum. In the adjacent quarters of the Rings The so-called boulevard-like streets surrounding the city center stand next to (rebuilt) Wilhelminian-style houses, typical post-war buildings and glass and steel complexes. in the Media Park An ensemble of postmodern buildings is lined up next to the 149 meter high Cologne Tower.
Old next to modern is also im Rheinauhafen in the old town and new town south, which is from Chocolate Museum over two kilometers at the 60 meter high and 70 meter long Crane houses over until KAP on the south quay extends. Of Deutz On the other side of the Rhine, the view of the classic Cologne panorama opens up, the platform offers an even better view at a good 100 meters on the KölnTriangle. If you walk north along the Rhine, you will reach the 40 hectare area Rheinparkwho goes south that Bollard meadows. Cologne is also green when it was laid out in 1891 Volksgarten in the Neustadt-Süd and established in 1829 City garden in the Neustadt-Nord, outside in City forest, in which the Müngersdorfer Sportpark is also located, Königsforst and the Crazy Heath at the airport. In the oldest central cemetery Melates In the midst of hectic city life, life and death meet in a green area as a place of rest and reflection with lively art and city history. 
 One of the most popular excursion destinations in the region is the 321 meter high Drachenfels at Koenigswinter It is one of the seven mountains of the Siebengebirge, according to the legend of the Nibelungenlied, Siegfried killed the dragon here and bathed it in its blood. Those who manage the sometimes strenuous footpath up to the viewing plateau can look far into the Middle Rhine Valley and across the Cologne Bay. The way to the plateau can also be done with the Drachenfelsbahn be driven. Also worth seeing are the ruins of the Drachenfels Castle at the summit, that Castle "Drachenburg at the middle station of the rack railway and the reptile zoo.
The Phantasialand South from Bruehl is one of the largest amusement parks in Germany. There are rides such as roller coasters or water rides as well as shows and demonstrations. The 28-hectare park is built in the former Berggeist open-cast lignite mine. 
 Anyone who walks or drives through the countryside meets you every three kilometers on average; former aristocratic residence. If you want to visit them all, you should bring some time with you, a total of 325 castles and palaces are waiting.
The gardens of the castles and palaces, the riverside paths on the rivers and lakes and the parks and green spaces in the cities invite you to take a walk in the countryside. The agricultural paths next to and between the fields can also be used for this. For those who like to be on the road longer and lace up their hiking boots or ride a bike, there are everywhere in the region Hiking and cycling routes Signposted with usually flat routes. The routes in the Bergisches Land, in the Wahner Heide, on the heights of the spoil heaps, in the Kottenforst and the Voreifel or in the Siebengebirge are more demanding because they are more mountainous. 

Several buildings of the numerous art and cultural institutions as well as the performances and exhibitions of international standing are also worth seeing. The numerous smaller facilities with their mostly long tradition, which are distributed across the Cologne Bay, contribute to this, as do the nationally known establishments.

  • Bonn: Egyptian Museum of the University, Academic Art Museum of the University, August-Macke-Haus, Beethoven Hall, Beethoven-Haus Museum with permanent and special exhibitions as well as chamber music hall for concerts, German Museum of masterpieces of science and technology, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Haus, Research Museum Alexander Koenig with the permanent exhibition Our blue planet - life in the network, House of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany, Art Museum, Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany, City Museum
  • Bruehl: Max Ernst Museum
  • Düren: Leopold Hoesch Museum, Paper Museum
  • Euskirchen: Rheinisches Industriemuseum
  • Cheeky: Keramion
  • Kerpen: Villa Trips-Museum of Racing History
  • Cologne: German Sports and Olympic Museum, Käthe-Kollwitz-Museum, Kolumba, the art museum of the archbishopric, the MiQua extends the archaeological quarter with praetorium and mikveh under the square in front of the town hall and an insight into the history of the Romans up to to the Jewish Quarter and Christian Goldsmiths Quarter, Museum of Applied Art, Museum of East Asian Art, Museum Ludwig with the third largest Picasso collection in the world and one of the most important collections in Europe on contemporary and 20th century art, NS Documentation Center in the EL- DE House, Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum for the Cultures of the World, Roman-Germanic Museum, Chocolate Museum with a scaled-down production facility and three-meter-high chocolate bubbling fountain, City Museum, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & F ondation Corboud
  • Linnich: German Glass Painting Museum
  • Troisdorf: Picture book museum
The Theaters of the city of Cologne and the Theater Bonn are responsible for the organization of the theaters and opera houses, in which fans of opera, drama and dance are offered a broad program in several venues. 
 thanks to the Philharmonic Cologne is one of the leading music metropolises. In the concert hall, the music is also optically the focus. The podium is almost completely surrounded by the auditorium seats. The much-praised acoustics - there are no parallel walls facing each other and sound reflected so that no unwanted echoes arise - has even improved over the years due to the natural aging of the wood. Until the opening of the Philharmonie in 1986, the large broadcasting hall, which is still in use today, was in the Wallrafplatz radio station the largest concert hall in the city.

If there is talk of tradition or culture in the region, the carnival cannot be left out. It should be known that the fifth season will take place on November 11th. at 11:11 a.m., the actual session with the carnival sessions does not begin until January with the proclamations, in which, depending on the city, triumvirate, prince couple or prince are raised to office. The highlight is the street carnival in February or March & # 150 depending on Easter Sunday, which always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the start of spring & # 150 from Weiberfastnacht to Violet Tuesday with the carnival parades in the cities and districts and of course the big parades on Rose Monday in the inner cities of the strongholds, where the societies and traditional corps march. With the burning of the nubber on Ash Wednesday night, everything is over again.

But the carnival is also a business. A hard-fought one, in which many an event turns out to be a tourist trap with gastronomic rip-off and wine compulsion, when many a year-round cabaret artist with slippery gags and dusty old man's jokes to the roar of Rumtata and Alaaf or Helau tries as a handicraft speaker or at gentlemen's meetings for naked dancers with strip shows should provide a special flair. The same is especially true on 11.11. and on Weiberfastnacht in many places the mass binge drinking with wild pissers and drunks already at lunchtime is definitely not a figurehead of the tradition.



Speaking of shops: Due to its location, the Cologne Bay has always been an important location for business, trade and science with a well-developed and closely interlinked infrastructure. The Romans once laid out the first paths and connected the newly emerging bases with one another. In the Middle Ages, Cologne with its Rhine ports was a trading center and starting point for trade. The goods were brought to Cologne from the surrounding area and had to be reloaded here. They were then often sent on as "Cologne goods". In order to escape the regulations of the guilds, many Cologne traders settled in the surrounding area.

Today, the traffic routes with the Rhine waterway, Cologne / Bonn airport and the often overloaded motorway and rail network are one of the major hubs in Europe. It is therefore logical that the region has developed into a logistics center for the transport of goods and goods and that internationally active companies choose the Cologne Bay trading center and relocate their headquarters here. The largest savings banks and the largest private bank in Europe are based here, and the cities of Cologne, Bonn and Aachen form the largest insurance location in Germany. After all, the world's first reinsurance policy was issued here. The triumphant advance of cell phones began with the establishment of the first nationwide mobile network from Bonn. Today, more than 10,000 companies in the region are active in telecommunications and information technology in the numerous technology and media parks.


 Automobile construction has a long tradition in Cologne, and the Otto engine was finally invented in the cathedral city. In 1864 Nikolaus Otto founded Deutz AG, the world's first engine factory in Cologne's old town, and Ford has been building its vehicles in Cologne-Niehl since 1931. In addition, Citroën and Peugeot, Nissan, Mazda, Renault and Dacia, Toyota and Lexus as well as Volvo have their German headquarters in the Cologne Bay.
Likewise, the chemical belt with the chemical parks around Cologne - the ChemCologne region - has developed into an important location where companies from the biotechnology, chemical and pharmaceutical sectors produce for the whole world. 
 Cologne is also one of the most important and largest media locations in Germany. WDR, the largest public radio and television company, broadcasts its programs from RTL, the largest private television broadcaster. In the production facilities in and around Cologne, the foothills of the mega-location reach as far as Aachen, a good third of all German TV productions are produced in various formats.
After all, the region has more than 30 institutes - including that German Aerospace Center and the Jülich Research Center, several Max Planck Institutes and Fraunhofer Institutes as well as the Federal Office for Information Security - a world-leading research and science center as well as an important university center for universities, colleges and technical colleges.