1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cologne

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COLOGNE (Ger. Köln, or officially, since 1900, Cöln), a city and archiepiscopal see of Germany, in the Prussian Rhine province, a fortress of the first rank, and one of the most important commercial towns of the empire. Pop. (1885) 239,437; (1900) 370,685; (1905) 428,503, of which about 80% are Roman Catholics. It lies in the form of a vast semicircle on the left bank of the Rhine, 44 m. by rail north-east from Aix-la-Chapelle, 24 south-east from Düsseldorf and 57 north-north-west from Coblenz. Its situation on the broad and navigable Rhine, and at the centre of an extensive network of railways, giving it direct communication with all the important cities of Europe, has greatly fostered its trade, while its close proximity to the beautiful scenery of the Rhine, has rendered it a favourite tourist resort. When viewed from a distance, especially from the river, the city, with its medieval towers and buildings, the whole surmounted by the majestic cathedral, is picturesque and imposing. The ancient walls and ditches, which formerly environed the city, were dismantled between 1881 and 1885, and the site of the old fortifications, bought from the government by the municipality, were converted into a fine boulevard, the Ring, nearly 4 m. long. Beyond the Ring, about 1/2 m. farther out, a new continuous line of wall fortifications, with outlying clusters of earthworks and forts, has since been erected; 1000 acres, now occupied by handsome streets, squares and two public parks, were thus added to the inner town, almost doubling its area.

Cologne is connected by bridges with the suburb of Deutz. Within the outer municipal boundary are included (besides Deutz) the suburbs of Bayenthal, Lindenthal, Ehrenfeld, Nippes, Sülz, Bickendorf, Niehl and Poll, protected by another widely extended circle of detached forts on both banks of the Rhine. Of the former city gates four have been retained, restored and converted into museums: the Severin gate, on the south, contains the geological section of the natural history museum; the Hahnen gate, on the west, is fitted as the historical and antiquarian museum of the city; and the Eigelstein gate, on the north, accommodates the zoological section of the natural history museum.

Cologne, with the tortuous, narrow and dark streets and lanes of the old inner town, is still regarded as one of the least attractive capital cities of Germany; but in modern times it has been greatly improved, and the evil smells which formerly characterized it have yielded to proper sanitary arrangements. The most important squares are the Domhof, the Heumarkt, Neumarkt, Alte Markt and Waidmarkt in the old inner, and the Hansa-platz in the new inner town. The long Hohe-strasse of the old town is the chief business street.

The cathedral or Dom, the principal edifice and chief object of interest in Cologne, is one of the finest and purest monuments of Gothic architecture in Europe (for plan, &c. see Architecture: Romanesque and Gothic in Germany). It stands on the site of a cathedral begun about the beginning of the 9th century by Hildebold, metropolitan of Cologne, and finished under Willibert in 873. This structure was ruined by the Normans, was rebuilt, but in 1248 was almost wholly destroyed by fire. The foundation of the present cathedral was then laid by Conrad of Hochstaden (archbishop from 1238 to 1261). The original plan of the building has been attributed to Gerhard von Rile (d. c. 1295). In 1322 the new choir was consecrated, and the bones of the Three Kings were removed to it from the place they had occupied in the former cathedral. After Conrad’s death the work of building advanced but slowly, and at the time of the Reformation it ceased entirely. In the early part of the 19th century the repairing of the cathedral was taken in hand, in 1842 the building of fresh portions necessary for the completion of the whole structure was begun, and on the 15th of October 1880 the edifice, finally finished, was opened in the presence of the emperor William I. and all the reigning German princes. The cathedral, which is in the form of a cross, has a length of 480, and a breadth of 282 ft.; the height of the central aisle is 154 ft.; that of each of the towers 511 ft. The heaviest of the seven bells (Kaiserglocke), cast in 1874 from the metal of French guns, weighs 543 cwt., and is the largest and heaviest bell that is rung. In the choir the heart of Marie de’ Medici is buried; and in the adjoining side-chapels are monuments of the founder and other archbishops of Cologne, and the shrine of the Three Kings, which is adorned with gold and precious stones. The three kings of Cologne (Kaspar, Melchior and Balthazar) were supposed to be the three wise men who came from the East to pay adoration to the infant Christ; according to the legend, the emperor Frederick I. Barbarossa brought their bones from Milan in 1162, and had them buried in Cologne cathedral, and miraculous powers of healing were attributed to these relics. The very numerous and richly-coloured windows, presented at various times to the cathedral, add greatly to the imposing effect of the interior. The view of the cathedral has been much improved by a clearance of the old houses on the Domhof, including the archiepiscopal palace, but the new Hof, though flanked by many fine buildings, is displeasing owing to the intrusion of numerous modern palatial hotels and shops.

Among the other churches of Cologne, which was fondly styled in the middle ages the “holy city” (heilige Stadt) and “German Rome,” and, according to legend, possessed as many sacred fanes as there are days in the year, are several of interest both for their age and for the monuments and works of art they contain. In St Peter’s are the famous altar-piece by Rubens, representing the Crucifixion of St Peter, several works by Lucas van Leyden, and some old German glass-paintings. St Martin’s, built between the 10th and 12th centuries, has a fine baptistery; St Gereon’s, built in the 11th century on the site of a Roman rotunda, is noted for its mosaics, and glass and oil-paintings; the Minorite church, begun in the same year as the cathedral, contains the tomb of Duns Scotus. Besides these may be mentioned the church of St Pantaleon, a 13th-century structure, with a monument to Theophano, wife of the emperor Otto II.; St Cunibert, in the Byzantine-Moorish style, completed in 1248; St Maria im Capitol, the oldest church in Cologne, dedicated in 1049 by Pope Leo IX., noted for its crypt, organ and paintings; St Cecilia, St Ursula, containing the bones of that saint and, according to legend, of the 11,000 English virgins massacred near Cologne while on a pilgrimage to Rome; St Severin, the church of the Apostles, and that of St Andrew (1220 and 1414), which contains the remains of Albertus Magnus in a gilded shrine. Most of these, and also many other old churches, have been completely restored. Among newer ecclesiastical buildings must be mentioned the handsome Roman Catholic church in Deutz, completed in 1896, and a large synagogue, in the new town west of the Ring, finished in 1899.

Among the more prominent secular buildings are the Gürzenich, a former meeting-place of the diets of the Holy Roman Empire, built between 1441 and 1447, of which the ground floor was in 1875 converted into a stock exchange, and the upper hall, capable of accommodating 3000 persons, is largely utilized for public festivities, particularly during the time of the Carnival: the Rathaus, dating from the 13th century, with beautiful Gobelin tapestries; the Tempelhaus, the ancestral seat of the patrician family of the Overstolzens, a beautiful building dating from the 13th century, and now the chamber of commerce; the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, in which is a collection of paintings by old Italian and Dutch masters, together with some works by modern artists; the Zeughaus, or arsenal, built on Roman foundations; the Supreme Court for the Rhine provinces; the post-office (1893); the Imperial Bank (Reichsbank); and the municipal library and archives. The Wolkenburg, a fine Gothic house of the 15th century, originally a patrician residence, was restored in 1874, and is now the headquarters of the famous men’s choral society of Cologne (Kölner Männergesangverein).

A handsome central railway station (high level), on the site of the old station, and close to the cathedral, was built in 1889–1894. The railway to Bonn and the Upper Rhine now follows the line of the ceinture of the new inner fortifications, and on this section there are three city stations in addition to the central. Like all important German towns, Cologne contains many fine monuments. The most conspicuous is the colossal equestrian statue (221/2 ft. high) of Frederick William III. of Prussia in the Heumarkt. There are also monuments to Moltke (1881), to Count Johann von Werth (1885), the cavalry leader of the Thirty Years’ War, and to Bismarck (1879). Near the cathedral is an archiepiscopal museum of church antiquities. Cologne is richly endowed with literary and scientific institutions. It has an academy of practical medicine, a commercial high school, a theological seminary, four Gymnasia (classical schools), numerous lower-grade schools, a conservatory of music and several high-grade ladies’ colleges. Of its three theatres, the municipal theatre (Stadttheater) is famed for its operatic productions.

Commercially, Cologne is one of the chief centres on the Rhine, and has a very important trade in corn, wine, mineral ores, coals, drugs, dyes, manufactured wares, groceries, leather and hides, timber, porcelain and many other commodities. A large new harbour, with spacious quays, has been constructed towards the south of the city. In 1903, the traffic of the port amounted to over one million tons. Industrially, also, Cologne is a place of high importance. Of the numerous manufactures, among which may be especially mentioned sugar, chocolate, tobacco and cigars, the most famous is the perfume known as eau de Cologne (q.v.) (Kölnisches Wasser, i.e. Cologne-water).

Of the newspapers published at Cologne the most important is the Kölnische Zeitung (often referred to as the “Cologne Gazette”), which has the largest circulation of any paper in Germany, and great weight and influence. It must be distinguished from the Kölnische Volkszeitung, which is the organ of the Clerical party in the Prussian Rhine provinces.

History.—Cologne occupies the site of Oppidum Ubiorum, the chief town of the Ubii, and here in A.D. 50 a Roman colony, Colonia, was planted by the emperor Claudius, at the request of his wife Agrippina, who was born in the place. After her it was named Colonia Agrippina or Agrippinensis. Cologne rose to be the chief town of Germania Secunda, and had the privilege of the Jus Italicum. Both Vitellius and Trajan were at Cologne when they became emperors. About 330 the city was taken by the Franks but was not permanently occupied by them till the 5th century, becoming in 475 the residence of the Frankish king Childeric. It was the seat of a pagus or gau, and counts of Cologne are mentioned in the 9th century.

The succession of bishops in Cologne is traceable, except for a gap covering the troubled 5th century, from A.D. 313, when the see was founded. It was made the metropolitan see for the bishoprics of the Lower Rhine and part of Westphalia by Charlemagne, the first archbishop being Hildebold, who occupied the see from 785 to his death in 819. Of his successors one of the most illustrious was Bruno (q.v.), brother of the emperor Otto I., archbishop from 953 to 965, who was the first of the archbishops to exercise temporal jurisdiction, and was also “archduke” of Lorraine. The territorial power of the archbishops was already great when, in 1180, on the partition of the Saxon duchy, the duchy of Westphalia was assigned to them. In the 11th century they became ex-officio arch-chancellors of Italy (see Archchancellor), and by the Golden Bull of 1356 they were finally placed among the electors (Kurfürsten) of the Empire. With Cologne itself, a free imperial city, the archbishop-electors were at perpetual feud; in 1262 the archiepiscopal see was transferred to Brühl, and in 1273 to Bonn; it was not till 1671 that the quarrel was finally adjusted. The archbishopric was secularized in 1801, all its territories on the left bank of the Rhine being annexed to France; in 1803 those on the right bank were divided up among various German states; and in 1815 by the congress of Vienna, the whole was assigned to Prussia. The last archbishop-elector, Maximilian of Austria, died in 1801.

In Archbishop Hildebold’s day Cologne was still contained by the square of its Roman walls, within which stood the cathedral and the newly-founded church of St Maria (known later as “im Capitol”); the city was, however, surrounded by a ring of churches, among which those of St Gereon, St Ursula, St Severin and St Cunibert were conspicuous. In 881 Norman pirates, sailing up the Rhine, took and sacked the city; but it rapidly recovered, and in the 11th century had become the chief trading centre of Germany. Early in the 12th century the city was enlarged by the inclusion of suburbs of Oversburg, Niederich and St Aposteln; in 1180 these were enclosed in a permanent rampart which, in the 13th century, was strengthened with the walls and gates that survived till the 19th century.

The municipal history of Cologne is of considerable interest. In general it follows the same lines as that of other cities of Lower Germany and the Netherlands. At first the bishop ruled through his burgrave, advocate, and nominated jurats (scabini, Schöffen). Then, as the trading classes grew in wealth, his jurisdiction began to be disputed; the conjuratio pro libertate of 1112 seems to have been an attempt to establish a commune (see Commune, Medieval). Peculiar to Cologne, however, was the Richerzeche (rigirzegheide), a corporation of all the wealthy patricians, which gradually absorbed in its hands the direction of the city’s government (the first record of its active interference is in 1225). In the 13th century the archbishops made repeated efforts to reassert their authority, and in 1259 Archbishop Conrad of Hochstaden, by appealing to the democratic element of the population, the “brotherhoods” (fraternitates) of the craftsmen, succeeded in overthrowing the Richerzeche and driving its members into exile. His successor, Engelbert II., however, attempted to overthrow the democratic constitution set up by him, with the result that in 1262 the brotherhoods combined with the patricians against the archbishop, and the Richerzeche returned to share its authority with the elected “great council” (Weiter Rat). As yet, however, none of the trade or craft gilds, as such, had a share in the government, which continued in the hands of the patrician families, membership of which was necessary even for election to the council and to the parochial offices. This continued long after the battle of Worringen (1288) had finally secured for the city full self-government, and the archbishops had ceased to reside within its walls. In the 14th century a narrow patrician council selected from the Richerzeche, with two burgomasters, was supreme. In 1370 an insurrection of the weavers was suppressed; but in 1396, the rule of the patricians, having been weakened by internal dissensions, a bloodless revolution led to the establishment of a comparatively democratic constitution, based on the organization of the trade and craft gilds, which lasted with but slight modification till the French Revolution.

The greatness of Cologne, in the middle ages as now, was due to her trade. Wine and herrings were the chief articles of her commerce; but her weavers had been in repute from time immemorial, and exports of cloth were large, while her goldsmiths and armourers were famous. So early as the 11th century her merchants were settled in London, their colony forming the nucleus of the Steelyard. When, in 1201, the city joined the Hanseatic League (q.v.) its power and repute were so great that it was made the chief place of a third of the confederation.

In spite of their feuds with the archbishops, the burghers of Cologne were stanch Catholics, and the number of the magnificent medieval churches left is evidence at once of their piety and their wealth. The university, founded in 1389 by the sole efforts of the citizens, soon gained a great reputation; in the 15th century its students numbered much more than a thousand, and its influence extended to Scotland and the Scandinavian kingdoms. Its decline began, however, from the moment when the Catholic sentiment of the city closed it to the influence of the Reformers; the number of its students sank to vanishing point, and though, under the influence of the Jesuits, it subsequently revived, it never recovered its old importance. A final blow was dealt it when, in 1777, the enlightened archbishop Maximilian Frederick (d. 1784) founded the university of Bonn, and in 1798, amid the confusion of the revolutionary epoch, it ceased to exist.

The same intolerance that ruined the university all but ruined the city too. It is difficult, indeed, to blame the burghers for resisting the dubious reforming efforts of Hermann of Wied, archbishop from 1515 to 1546, inspired mainly by secular ambitions; but the expulsion of the Jews in 1414, and still more the exclusion, under Jesuit influence, of Protestants from the right to acquire citizenship, and from the magistracy, dealt severe blows at the prosperity of the place. A variety of other causes contributed to its decay: the opening up of new trade routes, the gradual ossification of the gilds into close and corrupt corporations, above all the wars in the Netherlands, the Thirty Years’ War, and the Wars of the Spanish and Austrian Succession. When in 1794 Cologne was occupied by the French, it was a poor and decayed city of some 40,000 inhabitants, of whom only 6000 possessed civic rights. When, in 1801, by the treaty of Lunéville, it was incorporated in France, it was not important enough to be more than the chief town of an arrondissement. On the death of the last elector in 1801 the archiepiscopal see was left vacant. With the assignment of the city to Prussia by the congress of Vienna in 1815 a new era of prosperity began. The university, indeed, was definitively established at Bonn, but the archbishopric was restored (1821) as part of the new ecclesiastical organization of Prussia, and the city became the seat of the president of a governmental district. Its prosperity now rapidly increased; when railways were introduced it became the meeting-place of several lines, and in 1881 its growth necessitated the pushing outward of the circle of fortifications.

See L. Ennen, Gesch. der Stadt Köln (5 vols., Cologne, 1863–1880) to 1648, and Frankreich und der Niederrhein (2 vols., ib., 1855, 1856), a history of the city and electorate of Cologne since the Thirty Years’ War; R. Schultze and C. Steuernagel, Colonia Agrippinensis (Bonn, 1895); K. Heldmann, Der Kölngau und die Civitas Köln (Halle, 1900); L. Korth, Köln im Mittelalter (Cologne, 1890); F. Lau, Entwickelung der kommunalen Verfassung der Stadt Köln bis zum Jahre 1396 (Bonn, 1898); K. Hegel, Städte und Gilden der germanischen Völker im Mittelalter (2 vols., Leipzig, 1891), ii. p. 323; H. Keussen, Historische Topographie der Stadt Köln im Mittelalter (Bonn, 1906); W. Behnke, Aus Kölns Franzosenzeit (Cologne, 1901); Helmken, Köln und seine Sehenswürdigkeiten (20th ed., Cologne, 1903). For sources see L. Ennen and G. Eckertz, Quellen zur Geschichte der Stadt Köln (6 vols., Cologne, 1860–1879); later sources will be found in U. Chevalier, Répertoire des sources hist. Topo-bibliographie (Montbéliard, 1894–1899), s.v. Cologne, which gives also a full list of works on everything connected with the city; also in Dahlmann-Waitz, Quellenkunde (ed. Leipzig, 1906), p. 17, Nos. 252, 253. For the archdiocese and electorate of Cologne see Binterim and Mooren, Die Erzdiözese Köln bis zur französischen Staatsumwälzung, new ed. by A. Mooren in 2 vols. (Düsseldorf, 1892, 1893).