“Cologne is one of the best cities in Germany, seated upon the river Rhine; the streets are large, the houses high, the churches and monasteries great and numerous. The town-hall is a stately building; over the portal are written several Latin inscriptions, expressing the occasion of the building of this city by Agrippa, cousin to Augustus Caesar, scilicet, to hinder the incursions of the Suevi into the lower parts of Germany.
In the lower rooms are kept the courts of guards; in the first story the senate doth assemble; the second story contained a great number of Roman arms, distributed into several chambers; as also the third, scilicet, bucklers, some of which are whale-bone; cross-bows, and a great number of bolts. Amongst others there was one of those machines used by the Romans for a battery, called Ballista (…)
From the top of this house is an easy and pleasant prospect of the whole town, it being higher than any steeple there.
The cathedral is a fair church, but imperfect, neither the steeple nor body of the church being brought to their first intended height.
There they show several reliques; among others the bones of eleven thousand virgins of this country, who, for the more easy practice of their Christian religion, followed a king of England`s daughter to Cologne, and were all there martyrized with their leader, by a king of the Hunns.
The tombs of the three kings that came to worship our Saviour, first buried at Milan, and afterwards translated hither upon a certain day, which they observe as the greatest festival of the whole year. Their bodies, dried like mummy, are that day exposed to public view, the tomb being uncovered. One of them (they tell you) is much blacker than the rest, which they take to be the King of Aethopia. All the pilgrims (whose devotions lead them thither), that day, are treated and waited on at meat by the senators barefooted.
Near to this tomb lies a vast stone, which they tell you the devil threw in at the top of the church to destroy it, which heaven miraculously diverted; showing a round place in the repair of the roof, where it should enter. (…)
The next church of note is that of the Jesuits, built after the modern use: in the middle alley, going up to the choir, stand fourteen excellent statues, our Saviour`s with six of the apostles on one hand, our Lady`s with the other six, on the other side. (…)”
Der Zufall wollte, daß wir heute mit einem Kölner Stadtführer verabredet waren. Weil wir nichts von Reresbys Kölner “Jesuitenkirche” wußten, fragten wir bei derart passender Gelegenheit, ob es eine solche noch gäbe und er führte uns kurzerhand zu St. Mariä Himmelfahrt. Da wachen sie nach wie vor, die “fourteen excellent statues”. Gemeinsam klapperten wir weitere Innenstadtkirchen ab, erfuhren wo Karl Marx seine Schokolade trank, wie Georg Weerth in der Rheinischen Zeitung den Wortlaut offizieller Verlautbarungen im Feuilleton abdruckte und somit zur Satire umwertete und schlenderten durch längst verschwundene Gassen. Doch weiter im Reresby:
“The greatest part of the inhabitants of this city are Romanists, none being allowed the public practice of their religion but those; nor, by a late law, can any marry and settle amongst them, that is a protestant; which severity, with others in that kind, gives it the name of Roma Germanica.
The women here follow much the mode of Brabant, wearing upon their foreheads a round peak like unto a saucer, of black velvet; from the middle rises a black stalk of the size and length of a man`s finger, tufted with silk at the end; from the back of their heads there falls a black veil down to their heels, like widows. (…)
Here was born Bruno, the founder of that strict order of the Chartric, by the rules of which establishment the monks are never allowed to eat flesh, or to speak one to another, except at certain times, and those but few.”
(aus: The Memoirs and Travels of Sir John Reresby)