That special time of year is nearly upon us. Every 12 months Cologne hosts thousands upon thousands of visitors for a very special event. An event like no other. No, I don’t mean the fairy-tale like Christmas markets. No, I don’t mean the colourful sugar rush of Karnival.
I’m talking about Gamescom!
4 days of exhausting yet hugely exciting events, meets and late nights! All this, in a major German city that is sometimes overlooked for all it offers. For this reason, I (a born and bred Kölner) thought it would be nice to write a quick guide to my 2000-year-old home city. Just in case any of you are stuck for things to do or are just bored of talking Games all day.
“Kölner Dom” to the locals, is the skyline-dominating Gothic Cathedral dating back to the 13th Century. This amazing 150-meter piece of Architecture is the very symbol of the city and has been through the wars (literally!). If you’re feeling especially brave, why not attempt its 533 steps to the top? The View is 100% worth it, I promise!
Situated on the banks of the river Rhine, this amazing omen to the history of Chocolate promises to be a great day out! You can spend hours reading about the origin of Chocolate from the depths of the Aztec world, making your own tailor-made chocolate bar or enjoying the giant Lindt chocolate fountain. Yes…you read that correctly. It’s huge. It’s chocolate. It’s free to try!
While this empty square may not look like much during the day, the former market square of the 2000-year-old Roman city comes alive in the evenings. Surrounded by everything from clubs to old traditional-1-metre-beer-serving pubs, Heumarkt offers a great atmosphere and an even better selection of German Beers! Prost!
If you have had the pleasure of visiting Cologne during August before, you will know how hot the City really gets. Well don’t fret, the famous Rheinpark offers the ideal antidote. As the name would suggest, these 40 hectares of parkland stretch along the river Rhine between the boroughs of Mülheim and Deutz. Everything from swimming, sports, playgrounds and minigolf promise for a great day in the sun!
As you may or may not know, Cologne is a 2000+ year old city founded by The Romans during their invasion of Germania. While digging bomb shelters in 1941, Germany unearthed one of the largest, best preserved Roman mosaics in Europe – The Dionysus Mosaic. In fact, the floor mosaic was so outstanding that archaeologists left it right where it was, and the Roman-Germanic Museum (Römisch-Germanisches Museum) was built around it.
Still to this day, whenever a new car park is commissioned, or an old building is torn down, construction workers are forced to halt projects due to ancient artefacts being unearthed.
No city guide is complete without mentioning the bustling Shopping area.
Well, in this instance Cologne offers a mile-long shopping street, with countless side thoroughfares running off it. 14,500 visitors an hour lose themselves amongst everything from Artisan/independent coffee shops to Designer brands. What's more, the Schildergasse is the second-oldest street in Cologne and once formed the beginning of a trade route leading to the centre of Gaul!
Well, that’s all for now folks. There are countless more spots and attractions I could tell you about, but where is the fun in that?! Go find them yourself! This beautiful city promises intrigue and history wherever you go. Grab yourself a Kölsch beer and explore!
Who know? We might find the next Dionysus Mosaic!
Of all else fails, come see me and the SkillSearch team at Gamescom. We will be there Tuesday – Thursday and would love to hear from you! If you’re lucky, maybe you can join our group and have a local show you the sights!