Cologne

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Cologne

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GPS N50.940664°,E6.959912°
Cologne (Köln in German) is a city in Germany, in the German Federal state North Rhine-Westphalia. It is the fourth largest city in Germany (after Berlin, Munich and Hamburg). It is as well one of the oldest cities in Germany. Being the major cultural centre of the Rhineland, it has more than thirty museums and hundreds of galleries. It is also an important media centre within Germany with several radio and television stations having their headquarters there.

The first urban settlement on the grounds of present Cologne was Oppidum Ubiorum, which was founded in 38 BC by the Ubii, a Germanic tribe. Cologne became acknowledged as a city by the Romans in 50 AD. In the Middle Ages the town was of a significant importance. In 1475 it became a Free Imperial City. Later it became a part of Napoleonic Empire. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Cologne absorbed numerous surrounding towns, and by World War I had already grown to 700,000 inhabitants Industrialization changed the city and spurred its growth. Between the wars Cologne was occupied by British Forces until 1926. During World War II, Cologne was a Military Area Command Headquarters and it was hit 262 times by air raids which caused approximately 20,000 civilian casualties and almost completely wiped out the center of the city. By the end of the war, the population of Cologne was reduced by 95%.

The area of Cologne is 405.15 square kilometers (156.4 square miles). It lies on the Rhine River. It is subdivided into nine boroughs and 86 quarters. The population of Cologne is somewhat fewer than million inhabitants with the population density around 2,500 inhabitants per square kilometer. Around 31percent of inhabitants have migrated here and 17.2 percent of population is not of German origin, 6.3 percent of these are Turkish.

As far as economy is concerned, several big companies are located here – Lufthansa has its headquarters here, Ford has its European headquarters and a factory in the city, Toyota Team Europe has headquarter and workshop in Cologne.

Cologne is cultural centre of the Rhineland, as was already mentioned. It has several museums (e.g. Romano-Germanic Museum, Museum Ludwig or Schnütgen Museum), lots of galleries and some active orchestras (Gürzenich Orchestra and Musica Antiqua Köln). Cologne was also an important centre of electronic music in the 1950s and again from the 90s onward. There are several centers of nightlife. Famous is also annual literary festival Lit. Cologne and definitely Cologne carnival, one of the biggest street festivals in Europe.

As Cologne was completely destroyed during the World War second, most of the buildings are of post-war era; however, some were reconstructed due to their historical importance. One of the famous landmarks is Cologne Cathedral, as Cologne is the seat of the Catholic Archbishop of Cologne. The University of Cologne is one of the oldest in Europe. There are twelve Romanesque Churches, Farina Fragrance museum, EL-DE Haus, the former local headquarters of the Gestapo, Kölner Philharmonie, RheinEnergieStadion, the major Cologne stadium, primarily used for soccer games, Flora und Botanischer Garten Köln, the city's formal park and main botanical garden and many more.

To the other special things that originated in Cologne belongs Cologne beer, known as Kölsch or Eau de Cologne, perfume created at the beginning of the 18th century by Johann Maria Farina.

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