#40 The Year 1000 AD – Cologne at the turn of the millennium

Cologne in the Year 1000 AD. This year was a year like many others. But let’s take advantage of the beginning of the new millennium to discover the city on foot again. We explore the old city on the Rhine in the year 1,000. What characteristics can be found here? Let’s find out together!

#40 1000 AD – Cologne at the turn of the millennium The History of Cologne

Cologne in the Year 1000 AD. This year was a year like many others. But let's take advantage of the beginning of the new millennium to discover the city on foot again.

Kunibertsstift (Monastery of Kunibert)

The Kunibert Monastery in the late medieval period.

The Old Cologne Cathedral

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)

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.

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.

Gero Kreuz (Gero Cross)

The Gero Cross was worked so artistically and significantly that all crucifixes in Western Europe were based on it. It is the oldest representation of the dead Jesus Christ on the cross.

Previously, Jesus had always been depicted on the cross in an upright pose, divine, as the victor over death. Quasi, as if he would not care that he was just tortured to death in the evilest way. This was the iconography until around the year 1000. The Gero cross, however, represents Jesus at the moment of his death. His body hangs limp on the cross and sags down, the belly is already hollowed out as usual for deceased and the eyes of the Messiah are closed Here was depicted that very moment when the Son of God breathed his last and died. This had not been done before in Western Europe. Since then, new crucifixes have always been made in this way, following the example of the Gero Cross.

Heumarkt and Alter Markt

Today’s Heumarkt (Hay market) square looking to the northeast with the basilica Great St. Martin in the background. The predecessor building of Great St. Martin already stood there.

Today’s Heumarkt square facing northwest. In the background you can see behind the trees the medieval city hall (that did not exist in the year 1000) and in the background today’s gothic Cologne Cathedral. Back in the year 1000 you would have cleary seen the Old Cathedral. See how in the middle of the square a row of houses cut through the square. Dividing the once big square into two.

Today’s Alter Markt (Old Market).

Today’s Martinsquarter


View to Deutz from the left bank of the Rhine in Cologne. Today’s Deutz Bridge is only a short distance from the Roman bridge of that time. However, the Roman bridge had disappeared by the year 1000 at the latest and had previously been demolished.

Here once stood the Roman fort Divitia from which today’s district of Deutz developed. On the foundation of the fort, the Archbishop of Cologne Heribert would found a monastery in 1003. This still stands there today. Today, its walls are home to a retirement home. The small parish church is nowadays a gift to the Greek Orthodox community.

Neumarkt & St. Aposteln (St. Apostles)

Today’s Neumarkt (New Market). In the year 1,000, this area was uninhabited. But a few decades later this square would develop. Once a beautiful square in the heart of downtown, it is today a concrete desert without sojourn quality cut away from the city by traffic. Plans to revitalize the square are still just bla bla.

St. Aposteln (St. Apostles) at night at the eastern end of the Neumarkt square. In the year 1,000 stood a modest predecessor building here. Where today’s choir is visible and we look at in this image, the Roman city wall would still be standing. The conch in front of us was built partly on the foundation of a Roman watchtower. In three meters above the ground, next to the statues, you might see a little bricked up door. This way, the priests could simply walk directly from their church on the city wall to get through the city.

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