Groß St. Martin

This Romanesque church’s history can be summed as follows: fire, fire, fire, storm, war.

It all began back in 960 A.D. when the foundation was laid over remnants of a Roman chapel. Scottish and Irish Benedictines were the main occupants until the 11th century, when local monks began moving in.

In 1150, a fire swept through Cologne and destroyed most of the church. Much of it was rebuilt, but then another devastating fire came along in 1185.

Originally, there were four towers that dominated the Cologne skyline. In 1378, a fire destroyed the roofs of the four towers. Then, a strong storm in 1434 destroyed three of the gables, two of which fell on the vault over the main altar. Talk about bad luck.

The interior is very simple, given its elaborate exterior. The main feature is the triconch, three apses around the crossing, similar to St. Maria im Kapitol.

Like most of the city, the church was badly damaged in WWII. Restoration work was completed in 1985.

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