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The Cologne skyline at night showing the Gothic Cathedral.

Exploring the Past in North Rhine-Westphalia

Museums in North Rhine-Westphalia

Archaeological Zone & Jewish Museum, Cologne

At the heart of the city of Cologne is one of the largest archaeological zones in Europe. The zone covers an area of about 10,000 m² in and under the Town Hall Square, where excavations since the 1950s have exposed an extraordinary urban history that goes back two thousand years. A story that starts with the remains of the Roman Governor’s Palace, which is then followed by the ruins of a Medieval Jewish quarter and its Carolingian Synagogue that dates to about 800 AD. [Website]

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Kolumba Museum, Cologne

Kolumba Museum is one of the oldest museums in Cologne, a collection of religious art from Late Antiquity to the 21st century. Highlights of this collection, including a Romanesque style crucifix and a 4th century glass cage cup, are on permanent display. As spectacular as the collection is, the museum itself is worth a visit. The celebrated Swiss architect Peter Zumthor has designed a strikingly simple building around the ruins of an ornate Gothic church that was severely damaged during World War Two. Photograph © Frerk Dörband [Website]

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Egyptian Museum of the University Bonn

Housed in the former fencing hall of the University of Bonn is an extraordinary collection of Egyptian antiquities. The origins of the collection date back to the early 19th century. What was an initial collection of 1,820 artefacts has since grown to over 3,000. Sadly, during October 1944 Allied bombs on Bonn destroyed a number of objects, including relief fragments from the Pyramids and several coffins. Objects in the display cases change regularly. [Website]

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Römisch-Germanisches Museum, Cologne

The Romano-Germanic Museum in Cologne is one of Germany’s most important Roman museums. During construction builders came across the remains of a Roman town house. During rescue efforts, the spectacular Dionysus mosaic floor could not be lifted so it was decided a museum would be built around the mosaic. Besides extensive exhibits of art, culture and everyday life in Roman and early medieval Cologne, the museum has largest and finest collections of Roman glass artefacts in the World. [Website]

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Sightseeing Tours & Activities in North Rhine-Westphalia