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Gumbo's Pic of the Day, Oct 8, 2013: Cologne, Germany

027 Oct 08, 2013. Cologne 2nd


Not much survives of old Cologne anymore.  The city, which had (and still has) a heavy industrial base was almost completely flattened during Allied bombing runs in the Second World War.  But its remarkable Cathedral survived, and so did this group of narrow medieval homes and storefronts just off the banks of the Rhine River.   I was surprised by how narrow these buildings were and am under the impression that taxes at that time were proportional to how wide your business frontage was, so the tendency was to build them narrow and tall (owners lived above their shops).


The city is now a lovely destination, slightly off the main tourist track, with interesting sights including its magnificent cathedral (itself a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and many ancient artifacts dating back to the days of Roman occupation.


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  • Medieval homes, Cologne, Germany

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"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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Thanks for the note, Pheymont.  I saw the main BANK OF IRELAND building in Dublin a few days, which is windowless.  All the window spaces were filled in with rock (in a tasteful manner).  Seems the government decided to levy a window tax.  The company responded in kind.  

The picture reminds me of similarly-colorful rows of small buildings in Nyhavn (Copenhagen) and on Bryggen (in Oslo). There must be something to the width-and-taxes idea, because it's certainly been true elsewhere.

In New York, from colonial times until the early 20th-century, the number of windows affected the property tax rate, and it was only 2009 when the city ended the practice of basing the water rates on "frontage."

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