For the first time in history, the Bartholomew’s Hill in Cologne was opened to the public. Church of St. Bartholomew is the dominant feature of the town, but the whole area extending around the church is worth attention. Do not miss the ossuary with rich ornamental decorations or the building of the former parish school with an interactive exhibition, a view from the bell tower and green fences. With the opening on September 20, 2020, Kolín has gained a unique comprehensive nook in the historic city center, which will offer visitors new views of the Cologne landmark.
Dean’s Church of St. Bartholomew is the dominant and most valuable historical monument of Cologne. The construction of the church began shortly after the founding of the royal city in the middle of the 13th century. It is probable that the early Gothic church was built on the site of an older church, which may have been related to the older settlement of this site in the early Middle Ages. The builder of the temple was King Přemysl Otakar II. In the 1960s, an unpreserved early Gothic choir and the perimeter walls of the three-aisled nave were built. In the 1970s, the second stage of construction followed, during which the triple nave was vaulted according to a modified project. Probably it was not until around 1300 that the towers at the western facade were completed.
In 1349, the church was severely damaged by fire. To restore it, he was Emperor Charles IV. called the famous architect Petr Parléř. In the years 1360 – 1378, he built a cathedral choir on the site of the original presbytery. However, the High Gothic alterations to the church continued until the end of the 14th century.
In 1504, the silhouette of the church was completed by a late Gothic bell tower, built by the builder Bartoš. In 1733, Dean Antonín Formandl had a Baroque ossuary built next to the church. Its interior with decoration composed of human remains was conceived as a popular “Memento mori” at the time. In 1796, the church was again ravaged by fire, its thorough restoration did not occur until the middle of the 19th century on the initiative of the chaplain and later Dean Jan Svoboda in Cologne. In 1878, the “Association for the Completion of the Dean’s Church in Kolín” was founded, which began the reconstruction of the church, conducted according to the ideas of monument care at the time. The author of the restoration project, completed in 1910, was Josef Mocker.
The interior of the temple contains a number of valuable artistic monuments. Among the most important, it is necessary to mention the Gothic pastophorium (box for storing the Blessed Sacrament), from around 1370 by Petr Parléř, a pewter baptistery by Kutná Hora master Ondřej Ptáček from 1495, the Baroque altar of St. Barbara and St. Crosses with sculptural decoration by Ignác Rohrbach, painting “The Passion of St. Bartholomew ”by Petr Brandl from 1734, a set of late Baroque paintings by Josef Kramolín and reliefs of the Stations of the Cross by František Bílek from 1910 – 1913.
Guide services in the church of St. Bartholomew and other buildings are provided by the Regional Museum in Cologne.