Cologne has a special place in my heart because my Uncle Dieter is from this city. I was very anxious to explore and discover this town. It was established by the Romans in the first century AD, then occupied by the French and the British over time. It was one of the most heavily bombed cities in Germany during World War II, the Royal Air Force (RAF) dropping 39,000 tons of bombs on the city. The bombing reduced the population by 95%, mainly due to evacuation, and destroyed 90% the entire city. With the intention of restoring as many historic buildings as possible, the rebuilding has resulted in a very mixed and unique cityscape.
After the war, the British, who were in charge of the rebuilding of the city, hired a German architect to rebuild old town, as cheaply and efficiently as possible, with simple concrete facades. He wouldn’t do that, and the engineer was jailed for his disobedience. Thankfully, Köln has a beautifully rebuilt frontage along the waterfront.