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Western Germany’s resilient Rhine River region has thrived for more than 2,000 years in defiance of the violent war scenes that reduced entire cities to rubble on the banks of this major waterway. Proliferating through viniculture, the tourism industry, and commercial business activity of cities like Frankfurt and Mainz, this breathtaking corner of the world has only grown more picturesque – if that’s even possible. After diving into a hotbed of German culture, art, and history during my recent river cruise aboard the Avalon Panorama, I’ve rounded up three must-see attractions along the Rhine:
Cathedral in Cologne
For lovers of spires, towers, and all things Gothic, Cologne serves up a particularly satisfying mix of modernity and history. The birthplace of eau de Cologne and Kölsch beer, this city also features a whopping 12 Romanesque churches. Most famous is the city center’s 475- foot-tall Cologne Cathedral. A breathtaking structure visible from just about anywhere in Cologne, the double-peaked skyscraper dominates the landscape. Visitors are invited to climb 533 steps to the South Tower (approximately 53 flights) to savor the view (and burn off any Kölsch beer-induced calories).
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