Kölner Dom • Cologne, Germany

Lauren DahlhauserComment

Germany's most visited landmark, a renowned monument of German Catholicism, and a remarkable example of the intricacy and magnificence of Gothic architecture, the Kölner Dom looms over the city attracting an average of 20,000 people each day. I was one of those people on the morning of July 8, 2015. 

When I stepped out of Cologne's main station after climbing steps to a large, open area in front of the cathedral, I instantly gazed up in awe.  A wall of clouds floated behind the skyline of the cathedral's intricate towers reaching high into the sky. As a cool breeze brushed my face, sending goosebumps over my body, my first thoughts were, "Is what I am seeing real?... I feel so small... Humans built this?".

It was a lot to take in. The walls and towers of the massive structure are so intricate that it's hard to tell the brain what to focus on. All you can really do at first is look up in amazement, pinching yourself occasionally to verify that you are, in fact, alive.

Usually, the areas inside and outside of the cathedral are swarming with more people than you see pictured above, but I chose a good day. The weather was particularly chilly with chances of rain throughout the day (which doesn't stop me from traveling), so I think the crowd of tourists was far smaller because of it. 

I was thankful for this. I know I'm a tourist myself, but a small part of me hates tourists. I always want to capture these extravagant attractions without people everywhere. How incredible would it be to experience main attractions around the globe without people swarming around you?

As a photographer, it's always hard to find a good spot to stand when people keep getting in your way, too. On the bright side, (and because I realize I have no control over the number of tourists), I love that people offer a sense of scale to massive structures like the Kolner Dom. 

Anyways, without further ado, here are some of my favorite images captured in and around the beautiful Cologne Cathedral. I hope that if you haven't, you get a chance to visit this place some day. Someone can show you pictures of the towering arches, or the experience of witnessing  the grand structure of the largest Gothic church in the world can be described to you in a way that makes you feel like you've visited, but nothing can amount to experiencing this work of art in person.