Cologne (German: Köln or sometimes Kölle) is a city on the Rhine River in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany. About 1,060,000 people live there.
The city was founded by the Romans in the year 50. Before that, it was a Roman castle ("castellum") and a town inhabited by a local German tribe named Ubier at least for 100 years. Archaeologists have found out that the surrounding area was populated already during the stone age.
The most interesting thing to see there is Cologne Cathedral. This church was built from about 1248 to about 1550, but completed only in 1880. The United Nations list it as 'World Cultural Heritage'. Cologne's archbishop Rainald von Dassel brought the relics of the biblical Three Wise Men there in 1164. They are kept in a very beautiful golden shrine in the cathedral. Three golden crowns in the coat of arms of the city symbolize them. They made Cologne a major place of pilgrimage.
Traditionally, the city was always Roman Catholic. That changed only recently after the Second World War,as a result of massive immigration of Protestants from the East of Germany. Still the largest number of people, 41.6%, are Roman Catholic, compared to 17% Protestant. 10% of the people are Muslim.
Cologne is the biggest city in North Rhine-Westphalia. Cologne is in the southern part of the 'Rhine-Ruhr agglomeration' of cities with a combined total population of about 10 million people. This is one of the most densely populated areas of the world.
The University of Cologne alone has more than 50,000 students. It was founded 1919 and is one of the biggest universities in Cologne has one of the busiest train stations in Europe. It is the only train station located next to a big cathedral.
People in Cologne and nearby have their own dialect. They call it Kölsch. During carnival time it even appears on nationwide broadcasts.
Cologne has a handful of broadcasting stations. The Westdeutscher Rundfunk, part of the network ARD, is the biggest producer of television and radio programs in Germany.
Cologne is also famous for Eau de Cologne (Kölnisch Wasser).
Cologne has an oceanic climate (Cfb in the Koeppen climate classification).