The cathedral has a height of 157.25 metres. This makes it the second-highest in Germany and the third-highest in the world. The cathedral in Ulm, the Ulm Minster at 161 m is the highest in the world. The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro is also higher, at 158 metres, but it only has the status of a minor basilica, it is not a cathedral. The cathedral is also the third-biggest church, built in Gothic architecture. The Seville Cathedral in Seville, Spain, and the Milan Cathedral in Milan, Italy are bigger.
The Cologne Cathedral was built in Gothic style from 1248. It was planned to make the cathedral like the one in Amiens. The choir was consecrated in 1322. The first bell could be hung in one of the towers shortly after 1410. Around 1510 building was stopped, because people had lost interest. The last payment for its construction was made in 1560.
For 300 years, Cologne had an unfinished cathedral. The cathedral was finished in 1880, still following original plans.
The cathedral is one of the most popular sight in Germany. In 2001, there were five million visitors, in 2004, there were six million visitors.Pope Benedict XVI visited the cathedral in 2005.