Cologne is the fourth largest city in Germany and the largest city of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The city has a population of just over a million people and a regional population of nearly 2 million. Cologne has been an important city for a very long time because of its location at the intersection of the Rhine river and major trade routes. It was founded in 50
A: D. and was an original part of the Holy Roman Empire until 1288. In 1475 Cologne became a free city and that lasted until the French took over and finally in 1815 Cologne was officially made part of the kingdom of Prussia. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries Cologne grew by incorporating nearby towns and by World War I it had grown to 600,000 inhabitants. During World War II it was bombed repeatedly and much of the old city was demolished. The city gradually rebuilt itself and by 1975 it had grown to a population of 1 million inhabitants. The biggest attraction in Cologne and symbol of the city all over the world is its magnificent Catholic Cathedral. It was started in the thirteenth century and because or wars and other interruptions took over 600 years to complete. Cologne has a famous university, which has over fifty thousand students from all over Germany and the world who come to study with its renowned economics faculty. Cologne is also a center for cultural and historical studies and the city is home to 31 museums. One of the things that Cologne is well known for is its beer which is called K?lsch. This happens to also be the local dialect of Cologne and a popular joke is that K?lsch is the only language you can drink. Cologne is also famous or infamous for being the only city in Germany with an explicit tax on prostitution and other sex related businesses. It is home to the largest brothel in Europe called Pascha, a so called eros centre which rents rooms to prostitutes. Pascha is a twelve story building with over 120 rooms to rent.
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