Charlemagne founded the archdiocese of Cologne, and from the 12th to the 18th centuries the powerful city was the fourth Christian metropolis after Jerusalem, Byzantine, and Rome to have the "Sancta" designation in its name. The cathedral was first conceived when small boxes carrying the relics (reliquaries) of three holy kings were brought to Cologne in 1164. These reliquaries are the centerpiece of the church today.
The cornerstone for Cologne's Dom Cathedral was laid in 1248, but the church wasn't completed until 1880. Construction stopped completely on the cathedral in the 16th century, and the city persecuted both Jews and Protestants during this time. In the 19th century Cologne was one of the most important cities in Prussia, and the Prussian royalty supported the completion of the cathedral starting in 1861.
After touring this magnificent cathedral, we crossed the wide square to one of the local beer parlors that feature the local Kolsch beer. I am a "lite" beer lover, so this pale beer was perfect for me. Cologne's citizens love their beer, and the city has over 20 local breweries.
Our time in Cologne was too short, and we sailed for Amsterdam after dinner.