Fun Facts Cologne

Fun Facts Cologne: 10 Surprising Things You Never Knew 

Cologne, or Köln in German, is one of Germany’s most vibrant and interesting cities, boasting a rich history, vibrant culture, and delicious cuisine. But did you know that there are countless fun facts about Cologne that you had probably never heard of?  

In this article, we’ll take a look at 10 of the most interesting, surprising, and quirky facts about this stunning city. 


#1 Cologne is one of the oldest cities in Germany

Cologne, located in western Germany, is one of the oldest cities and the 4th largest one in the country today. It was founded by the Romans over 2,000 years ago and has since developed into the cultural and economic hub of the region. With a rich history and a blend of Gothic and Romanesque architecture, the city offers you a unique experience. Cologne is home to numerous landmarks, such as the iconic Cologne Cathedral, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  

#2 The Cologne Cathedral: a marvel of Gothic architecture 

The Cologne Cathedral is not only one of the most iconic landmarks of the city, but also one of the most famous Gothic cathedrals in the world! Home to the Shrine of the Three Kings—which is believed to contain the remains of the Three Wise Men—the cathedral took over 600 years to be completed. Despite being heavily damaged during World War II, it was restored to its former glory in the 1950s. 

Fun Facts Cologne: Cologne Cathedral
Cologne Cathedral

#3 Cologne’s love for beer: a long tradition 🍻 

Cologne is known for its big love for beer, and the city has a long and rich history of brewing. Kölsch, a light and refreshing beer, is the most popular beer in Cologne that you should try once there. The city has a beer-drinking culture all its own with special glasses, pouring techniques, and even a special Kölsch language used in some pubs. Pretty cool, right? There’s even the annual Cologne Beer Festival, held in August, one of the city’s most popular events. 

#4 The quirky Cologne Carnival: time for some fun 

The Cologne Carnival, or Karneval, is a huge event that takes place every year in February or March. It’s one of the largest street festivals in the world with over a million people attending each year. The highlight of the carnival is the Rose Monday Parade featuring colorful floats, costumes, and music. During the carnival, dressing up and drinking Kölsch beer are essential!  

#5 The Cologne Zoo: home to over 7,000 animals 🐘 

The Cologne Zoo was founded in 1860 and is one of the oldest and most famous zoos in Germany.  It’s home to over 7,000 animals from around the world, many rare and exotic ones, such as Siberian tigers, giraffes, and red pandas.  

In 2015, the zoo welcomed a new baby elephant named Moma who quickly became one of the zoo’s most popular residents. Aw, we’d love to meet her! 

#6 From football to equestrian events 

Cologne is a city that gives a sportsy vibe, and there are many different types of sporting events that take place here throughout the year. The city is home to the football team 1. FC Köln, which plays in the Bundesliga, Germany’s top football league. From the Cologne Marathon—which is one of the most popular marathons in Europe—to the annual equestrian event, CHIO Aachen, just outside of the city, there’s something for every sports fan.  

#7 Let’s grab a Halve Hahn 

The famous pub-snack Halve Hahn is the Rhenish expression for a rye roll with cheese and spices usually served with butter, Gouda cheese, pickles and mustard. Funny enough, this phrase sounds similar to halber Hahn which means… half a chicken.  

Halve Hahn

#8 Chilling at the Palm Tree Alley 🌴 

In Cologne, you’ll find Germany’s only Palm Tree Alley. It’s located in the Flora—Cologne’s beautiful Botanical Garden. The perfect relaxing spot. 

#9 Smells like… Eau de Cologne 

The famous perfume, Eau de Cologne, was initially a medicine against pox! Literally meaning “water from Cologne”, the perfume was developed at the end of the 17th century by Johann Maria Farina, an Italian perfume maker. The brand, 4711, used to be the house number of its founding company, Farina, located in Glockengasse. You can also find there an exhibition which still sells the original fragrance. 

#10 Going Bananas… in Cologne 🍌 

Big Cologne travel tip: Keep an eye out for the banana sign.  

The famous sprayed banana—a symbol for political and social events as well as for places displaying great art—is a project started in Cologne by artist Thomas Baumgärtel. In the 1980s, Baumgärtel started spray painting bananas on the doors of art galleries in Cologne to bring to light the sudden boom in art spaces. This was later transformed into a whole movement, and the banana became a kind of Michelin Star for art galleries. Quite an interesting item for our list of fun facts Cologne, right?

Thomas Baumgärtel

Fun Facts Cologne: FAQs

How old is Cologne and its significance in Germany?

Founded over 2,000 years ago by the Romans, Cologne is one of Germany's oldest and fourth-largest cities, known for its UNESCO-listed Cologne Cathedral.

What makes the Cologne Cathedral unique?

A renowned Gothic cathedral, it houses the Shrine of the Three Kings and took over 600 years to complete.

What's special about Cologne's beer culture?

Cologne is famous for its Kölsch beer, with unique glasses, pouring techniques, and an annual Beer Festival.

What is the Cologne Carnival?

Held annually in February or March, it's one of the world's largest street festivals, highlighted by the Rose Monday Parade.

Tell me about the Cologne Zoo.

One of Germany's oldest zoos, it houses over 7,000 animals, including rare species like Siberian tigers and red pandas.

What sports events are popular in Cologne?

Cologne hosts events like Bundesliga football matches with 1. FC Köln, the renowned Cologne Marathon, and the CHIO Aachen equestrian event.

What is a Halve Hahn?

A Rhenish pub-snack, it's a rye roll served with cheese and spices, typically accompanied by butter, Gouda, pickles, and mustard.

Where is the Palm Tree Alley located?

Germany's only Palm Tree Alley is in Cologne's Botanical Garden, the Flora.

What's the history of the Eau de Cologne?

Created in the late 17th century by Johann Maria Farina, this famous perfume initially served as a pox remedy. It's still sold at its founding location in Glockengasse.

Why should I look for the banana sign in Cologne?

Initiated by artist Thomas Baumgärtel in the 1980s, the banana sign marks political, social events, and notable art galleries in Cologne.

Where to stay in Cologne?

Searching for modern budget-accommodation in Cologne? Time to stop looking and book your stay at the MEININGER Hotel Köln West in the heart of the charming Braunsfeld neighborhood of Cologne.

Stolberger Str. 347, 50993 Cologne, Germany

Wondering if you can do all of those in 1 day? Read more in our article about 24 hours in Cologne!

Visiting Cologne soon?

MEININGER Hotel Cologne West is the perfect accommodation for those aiming to visit Cologne without breaking the bank.

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