It was impossible to ignore the Kölner Dom when I first stepped out of Cologne’s central station. How could I, when it’s such a massive structure? The sunken plaza that I stood in only served to exacerbate the impression of size. It has its advantages, though; in the height of summer, its shadow offered the people gathered on the steps of Domplatz respite from the heat.
My eyes ran over the masonry. From the roof, flying buttresses flowed down the blackened walls that witnessed the bombing of the city in World War II. Here they still stood, even after the Dom took 14 hits. On the western facade, the two soaring spires form an unmistakable landmark. Figurines of holy men and women filled the niches in the doorways, while the arches and windows pointed heavenward towards finials several stories above.