The city of Cologne (Köln) is famous for its magnificent twin-spired cathedral, the Kölner Dom, as well as its riverside vistas - and Eau de Cologne, to which it gave its name. Its population is young - 30% of its million inhabitants are aged between 18 and 35 - but its history dates back to Roman times. Today the city's character reflects this mixture of modern and ancient. Sleek glass shopping malls, lively bars and restaurants sit beside sections of the old Roman wall and water system.
Cologne's speciality beer, the light, top-fermented "Kölsch" has to be brewed in the city to bear the name. The result is that Cologne has 24 breweries, more than any other city in the world. The beer is traditionally poured in a narrow cylindrical glass called a "stange". Much is quaffed during Cologne's annual carnival, the so-called "fifth season" which runs from November 11 until Ash Wednesday.
Cologne has strong associations with a variety of sports. The city is headquarters to the German Sports College, German Sports and Olympic Museum, Football Instructor's School, and the Federal Institute for Sports Science. A stadium has stood on the site of the new Fifa WM-Stadion Köln since 1923. The arena is home ground to FC Köln - and its famed live billy-goat mascot.
johung adds ...
The people of Cologne are famously jovial and chatty, reflected in their peculiar, sing-song dialect.
It is Germany's fourth largest city after Berlin, Hamburg and Munich, and hosts major festivals and events such as the Cologne Carnival, various trade fairs and the Cologne Gay Pride festival.
Cologne plays a paramount role in Germany's television industry. It is home to Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), the biggest branch of Germany's first public broadcaster ARD. Cologne is also home to the private broadcaster RTL, one of the biggest and most commercially successful television companies in Europe, as well as to a big number of smaller media, television and film production companies.