Twelve Romanesque churches of Cologne

St. Andrew's Church

St. Andrew's is a 10th-century Romanesque church located in the old town of Cologne. It is one of twelve churches built in Cologne in that period. Archbishop Gero consecrated the church in 974, dedicating it to St. Andrew, although an earlier church at the site was dedicated to St. Matthew. In the 12th century, the church was rebuilt in the Romanesque style, and was probably completed after the great fire of Colog ...
Founded: 974 AD | Location: Cologne, Germany

Great St. Martin Church

The Great Saint Martin Church (Groß Sankt Martin) foundations (circa 960 AD) rest on remnants of a Roman chapel, built on what was then an island in the Rhine. The church was later transformed into a Benedictine monastery. In 1150, a fire destroyed much of Cologne and it is supposed that the entire church was destroyed. The Archbishop of Cologne Philipp I. von Heinsberg sanctified the new building in 1172, and the fir ...
Founded: c. 1172 | Location: Cologne, Germany

St. Maria Lyskirchen

St. Maria Lyskirchen is the smallest of the twelve Romanesque churches in Cologne. It was founded in 948, and the present building dates from 1210-1220, with some later additions in the Gothic style. The upper parts of the west front were rebuilt in the 19th century. The church is in the form of a three-aisled basilica, with a chancel flanked by two towers, only one of which was constructed to its full height, and an ea ...
Founded: 1210-1220 | Location: Cologne, Germany

Basilica of the Holy Apostles

The Basilica of the Holy Apostles (Basilika St. Aposteln) is one of the twelve Romanesque churches built in Cologne in that period. Its glory is the domed clover leaf chancel, which was built around 1200. The story of how today’s building originated begins in the 11th century. At that time the church was on the road in the direction of Aachen, directly ahead of the roman city walls at the western main gate. In the 1 ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Cologne, Germany

St. Maria im Kapitol

St. Maria im Kapitol is an 11th-century Romanesque church located in the Kapitol-Viertel in the old town of Cologne. It was dedicated to St. Mary and built between 1040 and 1065. It is one of twelve Romanesque churches built in Cologne during this period. Measuring 100 m x 40 m and encompassing 4,000 square metres of internal space, St. Maria is the largest of the Romanesque churches in Cologne. Like many of the lat ...
Founded: 1040-1065 | Location: Cologne, Germany

Basilica of St. Ursula

The Basilica church of St. Ursula was is built upon the ancient ruins of a Roman cemetery. The church has an impressive reliquary created from the bones of the former occupants of the cemetery. It is one of the twelve Romanesque churches of Cologne and was designated a Minor Basilica in 1920. While the nave and crossing tower are Romanesque, the choir has been rebuilt in the Gothic style. The Golden Chamber, or ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Cologne, Germany

St. Cecilia's Church

St. Cecilia"s Church (Cäcilienkirche) is one of the twelve Romanesque churches in Cologne’s old city. The present building, little changed since its inception, dates from 1130-60. The origin of the church building stems from the 9th century, during which a women’s home of the same name was founded at the site, during the reign of Archbishop Willibert in 870-888. It was built on the ruins of a prior Roman bath. ...
Founded: 1130-1160 | Location: Cologne, Germany

St. Gereon's Basilica

St. Gereon's Basilica (Basilika Sankt Gereon) was first mentioned in 612. However, the building of the choir gallery, apse, and transepts occurred later, beginning under Archbishop Arnold II von Wied in 1151 and ending in 1227. It is one of twelve great churches in Cologne that were built in the Romanesque style. St. Gereon has a highly irregular plan, the nave being covered by a decagonal oval dome, 21.0 m long and ...
Founded: 1151-1227 | Location: Cologne, Germany

Basilica of St. Cunibert

The Basilica of St. Cunibert is the newest of Cologne's twelve Romanesque churches. It was consecrated 1247, one year before work on the Gothic Cologne Cathedral began. It was declared a minor Basilica in 1998. A small church located at a burial ground north of the Roman city was founded or renewed by Cunibert, ninth Bishop of Cologne. Cunibert was also buried there. After 690 the Two Ewalds were buried in the ch ...
Founded: 1247 | Location: Cologne, Germany

St. Georg's Church

St. Georg"s Church is one of twelve Romanesque churches in the city of Cologne. The date of the foundation of St Georg"s is unknown, but it was consecrated towards the end of the 11th century. The nave was vaulted in the mid-12th century, the westwerk was added in 1188 and the entrance portal on the north side in 1551. The church was damaged during World War II, resulting in extensive restoration which i ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Cologne, Germany

Basilica of St. Severin

The Basilica of St. Severin is one of the twelve Romanesque churches of Cologne. St. Severin was established in the late 4th century as a memorial chapel and extended several times. The oldest parts of today"s building date back to the 10th century.  The church has been extended and enlarged several times. On the passable archaeological dig area under the church in the midst of a Roman graveyard the foundation r ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Cologne, Germany

St. Pantaleon's Church

The Church of St. Pantaleon is one of the twelve Romanesque churches of Cologne. The church dates back to the 10th century. The former monastery church is consecrated to Saint Pantaleon and the Saints Cosmas and Damian and is the oldest church of the cult of Saint Pantaleon west of Byzantium. The empress Theophanu and the archbishop Bruno the Great are buried in the church, which also contains shrines of sain ...
Founded: 966 AD | Location: Cologne, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.