Romantic Rhine



Romantic Rhine

The »Grand Tour« to the Romantic Rhine, with which Thomas Cook, among others in England during the 19th century, rang in the era of modern group travel, started or ended in Cologne.

That remains the case today: every tourist on the Rhine must have seen Cologne Cathedral. Not only because it is rightly one of the world’s most famous buildings, but because it thanks its completion, after 632 years of construction, to that enthusiasm for the middle ages and Gothic art, which the Romantic age had kindled. In a not yet unified Germany, citizens of Cologne such as Boisserée, as well as poets, statesmen, and kings, lent their support to the vision of completing the unfinished giant construction, which had been a skeleton since 1560, as the German national church. The original medieval facade plan, found again by chance at the beginning of the 19th century, gave this dream a definite form. To finance this, the Prussian royal house dug deep into its private coffers, and the Kölner Dombauverein was founded, which is still extremely active today. From 1848 to 1880, Cologne Cathedral was created as we know it today.

Fascinating cities on the Rhine

In 2002, Deutschland-Tourismus celebrated »200 years of the Romantic Rhine«. Cologne, Bonn, and Düsseldorf, the fascinating cities located on the Rhine, and their partners, such as the tradition Köln-Düsseldorfer Rheinschifffahrtsgesellschaft, offer special guided tours, Rhine tours and excursions, exhibitions, concerts, wine tasting, or incentive programmes.
Owing to the renowned International Bonn Beethoven Festival and its first-class museums, Bonn has been developing towards a further cultural metropolis on the banks of the River Rhine. As an important university city and historic Elector’s seat, Bonn also offers excellent sights: Experience the magnificent traces of the Romantic period on the Rhine which, in the music of Beethoven and Schumann, in the poetry of Heine and his contemporaries, or in the architecture of Cologne Cathedral, created works which are today part of the world’s cultural heritage.

Joie de vivre and Romanticism

The traditional, lively Romanticism on the Rhine also continues to be able to be experienced by the visitor: Of course, most spectacularly at the famous Carnival, where the pure joie de vivre is expressed for a few wonderful days, as well as in the quieter, winding lanes, and earthy pubs in the city centres, on the promenades along the majestic river, and against the background of the impressive urban and rural panoramas between the Drachenfels and the Lower Rhine. This is where the ancient myths, legends, and fairytales from the Rhine, which Romantics have enthusiastically collected, come to life. Here, you can experience what captured the imagination of both artists and visitors, and which they have sung the praises of thousand-fold. »Warum ist es am Rhein so schön?...« (»Why is the Rhine so beautiful?...«): The visitor will certainly find his own answer to why, even today, the cities on the Rhine are always worth a visit.

Special tours provide an insight into this period of great dreams and feelings, of myths and of fairytales, and their monuments in Cologne Cathedral and at many places in the Old City of Cologne, which itself is a wonderful Romantic panorama.

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