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COLOGNE

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Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city (after Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich), and is the largest city both in the German Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.

Cologne is located on both sides of the Rhine River. The city's famous Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) is the seat of the Catholic Archbishop of Cologne. The University of Cologne (Universität zu Köln) is one of Europe's oldest and largest universities.

Cologne was originally founded and established by the Romans in 50 AD, under the name Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium. It was the capital of the Roman province of Germania Inferior and the headquarters of the military in the region until occupied by the Franks in 462. During the Middle Ages it flourished as one of the most important major trade routes between east and west in Europe. Cologne was one of the leading members of the Hanseatic League and one of the largest cities north of the Alps in mediaval and renaissance times. Up until World War II the city had undergone several other occupations by the French and also the British. Cologne was one of the most heavily bombed cities in Germany during World War II. The bombing reduced the population by 95% and destroyed almost the entire city. With the intention of restoring as many historic buildings as possible, the rebuilding has resulted in a very mixed and unique cityscape.

Cologne is a major cultural centre of the Rhineland and has a vibrant arts scene. Cologne is home to more than thirty museums and hundreds of galleries. Exhibitions range from local ancient Roman archeological sites to contemporary graphics and sculpture. The Cologne Trade Fair hosts a number of trade shows such as Art Cologne, imm Cologne, Gamescom, and the Photokina.

The popular southern neighbor city of Cologne is Bonn.
Bonn is a city on the banks of the Rhine River in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It was the provisional capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990 and the official seat of government of united Germany from 1990 to 1999. Bonn is located in the very south of the Rhine-Ruhr region, the largest metropolitan area of Germany. It is the seat of two major DAX-listed German corporations.

Even though Berlin replaced Bonn as the capital of united Germany in 1990, Bonn remains a centre of politics and administration. Roughly half of all government jobs and many government departments and numerous sub-ministerial level government agencies remain in Bonn. In recognition of this, the former capital holds the one-of-a-kind title of Federal City ("Bundesstadt").

Bonn has developed into a hub of international cooperation in particular in the area of environment and sustainable development. In addition to a number of other international organizations and institutions, such as the IUCN Environmental Law Center (IUCN ELC), the city currently hosts 18 United Nations institutions. Simultaneously, Bonn is establishing itself as a national and international centre of meetings, conventions and conferences, many of which are directly related to the work of the United Nations. A new conference centre capable of hosting thousands of participants is currently under construction in the immediate vicinity of the UN Campus.

The city is home to the University of Bonn, one of Germany's most reputable institutions of higher learning. From 1597 to 1794, Bonn was the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and residence of the Archbishops and Prince-electors of Cologne, and is the birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven (born 1770).

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