Shadows of a City

by hopesfrenzy

As the days are getting longer, the sun played a brilliant part in our weekend trip to Cologne, Germany. We had a long weekend holiday, and took a short train ride from Amsterdam (past Dusseldorf where we had gone last year). At our Airbnb we had a great view of the surrounding apartments and could even sunbathe on the deck.

We had heard good things about Cologne, and it was just such a stunning city! We walked a lot around downtown and went to the Ludwig Museum, on which roof the first photo was taken, which to me looks like a painting. Actually, a lot of Cologne felt like a painting. While a lot of the city, like Dusseldorf, was destroyed in the war, there exist still some nice old areas. It seemed like a lot of the views were crafted by city planners, such as the view of Kaiser Wilhelm II’s statue and Cologne Cathedral, which does indeed tower above the city.

One particularly powerful experience we had was visiting the gestapo prison, where political dissidents were held during World War II. There were cells with graffiti and etchings from prisoners. Most poignant, however, was the square behind the prison that sat nestled between multiple apartment buildings, hidden from the street. It was in this square (see the mirrored walls below) where hundreds of people were put to their death by gunshot, sometimes in full view of the neighbors. As the war drew to a close and the Americans were approaching, they ramped up the murders so much that bodies were just left here. It was a haunting space.

The infrastructure of Cologne also provided some inspirations, such as the famous Hohenzollernbrücke (bridge) and the trains and stations and chimney pipes.

Exploring with Stéphane
Location: Cologne, Germany

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