Described by UNESCO as 'a masterpiece of Gothic architecture', the Kölner Dom was declared a world heritage site in 1996. The construction of the Gothic cathedral took 632 years, and when it was finally completed in 1880, it was one of the world's tallest building. The Dom stands an imposing 157m high and you will need to be in good shape if you want to climb one of the towers, although the view from the top is definitely worth the effort.
It's appropriate that the name of KOBLENZ derives from the Latin word for confluence, as it was the Romans who first recognized the favourable properties of the site at the point where the Mosel flows into the Rhine, establishing a settlement there in 14 AD. Nowadays, the town has become one of Germany's major tourist centres, profiting from its ready access to the two great river valleys and the hill ranges beyond. Koblenz itself polarizes opinion – some enjoy its relaxed, rather faded charm; others find it smug and boring. The connection with tourism actually has deep roots, as it was in Koblenz in 1823 that Karl Baedeker began publishing his famous series of guidebooks which aimed at saving travellers from having to depend on unreliable and extortionate local tour guides for information. Old editions of these (the one on The Rhineland itself is a good example) are still worth seeking out: their sententious prose evokes a vanished epoch, and their pull-out maps are wonderful to handle.
A visit to Dachau, the remains of Germany's first concentration camp, is an experience you will never forget. …
Thing to Do
Alte Römerstrasse 75 Dachau, BY 85221 Germany +49 81 3166 9970
Thu May 13 10:00am - Thu May 13 3:00pm
While some visitors complain that Dachau is too "prettied-up," it gives a powerful look at how these camps worked (closed Monday, www.kz-gedenkstaette-dachau.de). Built in 1933, this first Nazi concentration camp offers a compelling voice from our recent, grisly past, warning and pleading "Never Again" — the memorial's theme. On arrival, pick up the mini-guide and check when the next documentary film in English will be shown. The museum, the movie, the chilling camp-inspired art, the reconstructed barracks, the gas chambers, the cremation ovens, and the memorial shrines will chisel into you the hidden meaning of fascism.