20th- and 21st Century Architecture
The over 260 air raids flown over Cologne during World War II transformed a city known for its historically rich architecture into a massive pile of rubble. Reconstruction in the 1950s and 60s focused on new residential developments, traffic planning, rebuilding destroyed spaces, and creating commercial zones.
The great need for cultural and leisure-time activities also prompted the construction (or, in some cases, restoration) of museums, opera houses, theatres, and cultural institutions, including the broadcasting studios on Wallrafplatz, Sartory Halls, the Gürzenich festival hall, and Rhine Park. The refurbishment of Cologne’s Romanesque churches also began during this period (work was finally completed in 1985). All in all, postwar construction has left a lasting mark on the city, giving visitors and residents alike a multitude of historically and architecturally interesting sites.