Cologne,(German:Köln, kŭln), Germany, one of the nation's largest cities. It is in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia on the west bank of the Rhine, about midway between Bonn and Düsseldorf.
Cologne is one of the most important commercial and manufacturing centers in Germany. Among the principal industries are metalworking and the making of motor vehicles, chemicals, and glass. Some luxury items are also produced. The diluted perfume known as eau de cologne takes its name from the city. Many tourists visit the city, as do business people during trade fairs and industrial exhibits. Cologne is also a transportation center, served by autobahns (expressways), railways, barge lines, and a regional airport—Cologne/Bonn International Airport. Lufthansa German Airlines, the national carrier, has its headquarters in Cologne.
Cologne Cathedral is the city's outstanding landmark. This gigantic Gothic building, which was begun in 1248 and completed some 600 years later, is considered one of the great architectural treasures of Europe. The twin spires of the cathedral, 515 feet (157 m) high, completely dominate Cologne's skyline. Museums include the Roman-Germanic Museum, which features exhibits of Roman artifacts from ancient Germany; the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, with European paintings; and the Ludwig Museum, devoted to modern art. Remnants of ancient Roman buildings still stand in the inner part of the city.
The University of Cologne, founded in 1388, is the city's chief educational institution. Cologne has a symphony orchestra and an opera company. The Carnival celebration, held each year before Lent, is one of the liveliest events in Germany.