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TO THE GOD OF THE GOTHS
— There have been a lot of photos of burning and bombed churches, from Notre Dame to Sri Lanka, filling the pages of our newspapers and social media; so today, I thought I’d post something different; for the first time since I started this photo-blog, something that isn’t a photograph. It’s a drawing I did back in 2003 (pencil and Rotring Isograph on tracing paper), of the interior of one of my favourite churches, the magnificent Kölner Dom, in Germany. Officially the Hohe Domkirche Sankt Petrus, or the Cathedral of St Peter, it is the largest Gothic church in northern Europe. Construction began in 1248, on the site of what is thought to have been a Roman temple built by Mercurius Augustus. The cathedral would house the bones of what was believed to be the Three Kings of the Biblical Nativity which had been looted from the Basilica of Sant’Eustorgio, in Milan, by the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick Barbarossa, and handed over to the Archbishop of Cologne, Rainald of Dassel, in 1164. The completed eastern arm of the cathedral was consecrated in 1322, and while work continued on the rest of the structure, it ceased in 1473. The incomplete cathedral dominated the skyline of Cologne for four-hundred years until, in 1842, construction resumed on the orders of the Protestant Prussian court. The Dom was completed in 1880. It was badly damaged in World War II, hit fourteen times in Allied air raids, but stubbornly remaining standing while the city around it was flattened. Repairs were completed in 1956. Today, the Dom continues to house the relics of the Three Kings, enshrined in the Dreikönigsschrein behind the High Altar. The drawing shows the nave, facing the medieval east end, the oldest portion of the cathedral. .