Everyone knows the Cologne Cathedral. But what about the Cologne Cathedral before the Cologne Cathedral?
In the 9th century, a magnificent cathedral was built in Cologne. The predecessor of today’s Cologne Cathedral in the form of a Carolingian basilica. Everything about this Romanesque building including two legends are this time the main part of this episode.
Theophanu – The History of Cologne
Video about the Old Cathedral (with timestamps)
4:19 minutes: The Old Cathedral that was being built in the 9th century
4:52 minutes: interior of the Old Cathedral
5:08 minutes: Hilinus Codex
5:32 minutes: total view of Old Cathedral in the 11th century. On the right you can see the chapel of the “Pfalz” (palace)
The “Hilinus Codex”
Old Cologne Cathedral on the cover of the “Hilinus Codex” and the floor tiles on the bottom. Priest Hilinus gives the codex to St. Peter, the patron of the cathedral, ca. 1025 A.D.
The “Old” Cologne Cathedral
Reconstruction of the Cathedral by architect August Esswein, 19th century.
Hildebold with a model of the Old Cathedral in today’s gothic Cologne Cathedral. The mosaic was made in 1899 by Villeroy & Boch.
The remains of the Old Cathedral in the archaeological zone beneath today’s Cologne Cathedral
Stepstone into the Old Cathedral in the bottom of the picture. Look closely how to one side this step is worn out by centuries of people going in and out.
Remaining original floor tiles of the Old Cathedral. So amazing! They were not demolished because one always thought of that they could be recycled one day. But maybe they were forgotten over the course of the centuries. Lucky for us! As you can see the color wore a bit of over 1,000 years later. But it you can clearly see that they got the same color as depicted on the “Hilinus Codex.”
A corner of the Old Cathedral with floor tiles. In the background, illuminated by the lamps, you can see other segments of the floor of the Old Cathedral. These are the areas that look something like raised beds. So, if you walk through the Archaeological Zone, you will always have the floor at stomach or chest level.
A close-up of these “raised beds.” Here the tiles were removed during the construction of what is now Cologne Cathedral. Only the screed of the floor of the Old Cathedral are still preserved here.
When the construction of today’s Cologne Cathedral was started, the eastern part of the Old Cathedral was demolished first. Since it was built over the foundations and foundation walls of the Old Cathedral, today’s Cologne Cathedral is higher than the surrounding terrain. In order to be able to walk back and forth on the construction site between the Old Cathedral, which was still partially preserved at that time, and the new cathedral, this staircase served for some time.
To get building materials to the site, they even created their own roads right into the construction site. These are also still preserved under today’s Cologne Cathedral.