WORLD-FAMOUS SIGHTS AND UNIQUE LOCATIONS IN COLOGNE
Visit bustling sites steeped in history, such as the Alter Markt and the Rathausplatz, the UNESCO World Heritage Cologne Cathedral and the Lower Germanic Limes, the Via Culturalis, unique museums, and the Praetorium, or take in historical and cultural sites, including the future MiQua (medieval quarter). Enjoy special seasonal events, such as the Old Town Christmas market, the Cologne Carnival, or the CSD festival, and indulge in culinary highlights, all located within easy walking distance of the Legend hotel.
Step out of the peace and comfort of the Legend hotel and directly into a world of discovery. The attractions awaiting you in the immediate vicinity of the hotel include:
THE COUNCIL TOWER
The Council tower is adorned with 124 stone figures of members of the Council. The statues on the facade of the first floor are of rulers or persons with ruling status. From the first to the third floor, you will find statues of prominent figures who were of historical significance to the city of Cologne. Keeping watch from the top floor of the tower are the Three Wise Men: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. From our rooftop terrace, you can enjoy a particularly up-close look at them. Come and experience this Cologne landmark directly from the Legend Hotel!
The famous Glockenspiel is located on the roof of the tower. The 48 bronze bells can be heard only four times a day, enchanting the area around the City Hall with a total of 24 alternating pieces of music.
The rooms at the Legend Hotel offer a unique view of the historic City Hall tower and its statues, along with other historical sites and sights in Cologne. Information on the background and significance of each of these is available in all of our guest rooms.
THE HISTORIC CITY HALL
The historic City Hall or domus civium – the “house of the citizens” – is one of Cologne's most famous sights and is located right next door to the Legend Hotel. It is the oldest city hall in Germany – the first records date back to 1135 and 1152 – and is especially renowned for its magnificent loggia, which you can admire as you walk into the Legend Hotel.
Along with being a popular tourist attraction, the historic City Hall is also a popular venue for civil weddings in Cologne. The Legend team would be happy to help you plan a wedding reception at the Puls Restaurant/Bar.
COLOGNE DURING ROMAN TIMES AND THE BUILDING OF THE PRAETORIUM
In Roman times, the site of today's Alter Markt was located outside the city wall and was used as a harbor. Cologne's history begins around the time of Christ's birth with the decision of the Roman Emperor Augustus and his Governor, Agrippa, to move the Ubians from the right bank of the Rhine to its left bank.
This took place right here, at Cologne's very first address: the Praetorium, the foundation of which is adjoined today by the Legend Hotel. A sophisticated Roman provincial city thus came into being: Oppidum Ubiorum, later re-named Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium (Cologne) after the emperor’s granddaughter, Agrippina the Younger.
THE VIA CULTURALIS
This cultural trail, which connects the Cologne Cathedral and the Romanesque church of St. Mary in the Capitol, spans a city quarter unique in both Europe and the world in terms of its significance for Cologne's urban history and its concentration of cultural landmarks. The heart of the project is the area surrounding the historic City Hall. The Via Culturalis is so-named because the aim of the project is to make the timelines and traces of two millennia of urban and cultural history – whether aboveground, belowground, or spanning the skies – visible and understandable in a public setting.
THE OLD MARKET (“ALTER MARKT”)
The Old Market or Alter Markt was first mentioned as Mercatus Coloniae in 922 AD. Originally, the Alter Markt and the Heumarkt were connected. During the time of the Roman Empire, a branch of the Rhine was located here, about 12 meters below the present surface of the square, which bordered the Roman city wall. It was used as a harbor and could accommodate up to 200 ships.
Today, the Alter Markt, 265 meters long, with a total area of 5,460 square meters, is, after the Heumarkt, the largest public square in Cologne's Old Town. The Alter Markt plays a prominent role in Cologne’s famous Carnival celebrations – ever since 1953, it has been the site of the live concerts that kick off the new Carnival season each November 11 at 11:11 a.m. It is also where the Carnival’s street festival begins on the Thursday before Shrove Tuesday, a day known as Weiberfastnacht.
GREAT ST. MARTIN’S CHURCH
Cologne's most famous sight – the Cologne Cathedral – has made the city world-famous. However, in terms of cultural history, the urban ring of 12 Romanesque churches encircling the Old Town is of at least equal importance.
The most distinctive of these is unquestionably Great St. Martin’s Church, which completes a triad on the banks of the Rhine that includes the cathedral and the Council tower. It is considered certain that this church was founded in honor of St. Martin of Tours by the Archbishop of Cologne, Bruno the Great (953-965), whose legend of St. Martin is still deeply rooted in German culture today, far beyond the borders of Cologne.
THE ARCHEOLOGICAL ZONE – THE MIQUA
Directly in front of the Legend Hotel is the area known as Cologne's Archaeological Zone. This is an archaeological excavation area on and around the Rathausplatz, measuring approximately 6,000 square meters, right in the very center of the city of Cologne.
The area is archaeologically relevant to the Roman and medieval periods in Cologne as well as the city’s Jewish history. A museum for the Jewish history of the city is being erected on the Rathausplatz, which was left vacant after the destruction of World War II.
THE COLOGNE CATHEDRAL – LANDMARK AND PILGRIMAGE SITE
The Cologne Cathedral – of which the Legend’s rooftop terrace offers an outstanding view – is located only about 300 meters away and is one of the most popular sights in all of Europe. It is considered one of the world's largest Gothic cathedrals and ranks as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cologne Cathedral is also home to the largest and most artistically sophisticated medieval reliquary: the Shrine of the Three Kings.
The architecture, innumerable windows, vault, excavations, and spires as well as the interior of the cathedral itself are what make the Cologne Cathedral such an important landmark.