Historisches Rathaus der Stadt Köln

Germany’s oldest city hall, this building displays a Renaissance loggia & Gothic-style tower. The Kölner Rathaus, or Cologne City Hall, is a stunning architectural masterpiece situated in the heart of Cologne’s historic Old Town. With its Gothic facade, towering spires, and ornate detailing, the Rathaus stands as a symbol of the city’s rich history, civic pride, and enduring legacy.

Dating back to the 14th century, the Kölner Rathaus is one of the oldest city halls in Germany, serving as the seat of municipal government for centuries. Its grand facade is adorned with intricate sculptures, including figures of saints, rulers, and mythological creatures, reflecting the wealth and power of medieval Cologne.

The Rathaus’s most distinctive feature is its soaring tower, which offers panoramic views of the cityscape and the majestic Cologne Cathedral. Visitors can climb the tower’s narrow staircase to reach the viewing platform, where they can marvel at the beauty of the surrounding landscape and gain a new perspective on Cologne’s architectural treasures.

Inside the Kölner Rathaus, visitors are greeted by a series of magnificent halls and chambers, each adorned with elaborate woodwork, frescoes, and stained glass windows. The highlight of the interior is the historic Gürzenich Hall, a grand banquet hall adorned with richly decorated ceilings and opulent furnishings, making it a popular venue for weddings, receptions, and cultural events.

Today, the Kölner Rathaus continues to serve as the administrative center of Cologne, housing government offices, council chambers, and ceremonial spaces. Its timeless beauty and historical significance make it a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the vibrant city of Cologne, offering a glimpse into the rich tapestry of its past and present.

The Glockenspiel of the Ratsturm in Cologne is a charming and iconic feature of the city’s landscape. This musical clock, located on the tower of the historic Cologne City Hall (Rathaus), delights visitors and locals alike with its intricate melodies and animated figures.

The Glockenspiel performs several times a day, with the figures moving to the sounds of traditional German songs. It serves as both a cultural attraction and a reminder of Cologne’s rich history and traditions.

History and Construction:

    • The Ratsturm, a Gothic-style tower, was commissioned by the Cologne guilds on August 19, 1406.
    • Construction took place between 1407 and 1414, resulting in a tower that reaches a height of 61 meters.
    • The tower consists of five storeys and includes the Ratskeller (Council cellar)1.

The Glockenspiel:

    • The Glockenspiel was installed in the tower and consists of 48 bronze bells.
    • These bells were donated by the Cologne craftsmen’s guilds in 1958 after the tower was restored following its destruction during World War II.
    • Notably, former Cologne Mayor and German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer also contributed a bell.
    • The bells weigh a total of approximately 14 tons and are distributed across two levels.
    • Each bell can be played using either the original clapper or an electromagnetically triggered hammer2.

Melodies and Performances:

    • The Glockenspiel performs several times a day, with the figures moving to the sounds of traditional German songs.
    • The selection of melodies includes:
      • 9:00 AM: “Die Gedanken sind frei” (a 19th-century folk song expressing the desire for freedom and independence).
      • 12:00 PM: “Tierkreis – 12 Melodien der Sternzeichen” (composed by Karlheinz Stockhausen, representing the zodiac signs).
      • 3:00 PM: A mix of Kölner Klassiker (Cologne classics) by Jupp Schmitz and other local musicians.
      • 6:00 PM: Compositions by Jacques Offenbach, including famous pieces like the “Barkarole” and the “Can-Can”

Special Concerts:

    • Two to three times a year, especially during the summer months, the Glockenspiel hosts special concerts.
    • These events feature carillonneurs (Glockenspiel players) from both Germany and abroad
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  • Monday09:00 - 17:00
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  • Thursday09:00 - 17:00
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