Dock and see one of the most vibrant cities in Germany, and discover a Jewish history that stretches back to Roman times. At the appeal of his wife Agrippa, Roman Emperor Claudius decreed that a small military fort on the western bank of the Rhine would become a city, and it was soon a bustling metropolis designated Capital of lower Germania. A side effect of this status (and related trade) was that there was an established Jewish community in Cologne as early as 321. The Jewish community of Cologne has good reason to declare itself the oldest Jewish community north of the Alps!
The Roman era may have put Cologne on the map, but it was far from the end of their influence on the region. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the city fell to Frankish invaders and later Charlemagne, but their particular loyalties led them to become a part of the Holy Roman Empire and later a part of Germany.
As you approach Cologne you will surely see the towering Cathedral that is perhaps the most famous landmark of the city, the Kölner Dom. This Cathedral’s foundation was laid in the 13th century, and would remain under construction for over 600 years. Due to a confluence of factors, while the city was decimated and almost entirely rubble after Allied bombing runs in WWII, the cathedral escaped almost entirely unscathed.
Another miraculous survivor of the war was the ruins of the Roman-era mikveh underneath the city, as well as pieces of the ancient Synagogue. The Restored Synagogue is a hub of the Jewish community, and it contains artifacts of the long Jewish history of the city.
There’s so much to see when you step off the boat, so use your time well and let one of our guides show you the best parts of Jewish Cologne!
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