Monday, July 05, 2004

Can't see it through the buildings

The Cologne Dom (cathedral) is in danger of losing its place in UNESCO because of construction on the other side of the river. The proposed construction (described as Hochhaeuser) would disturb the classic silhouette of the cathedral against the skyline of Cologne. At its meeting in China, UNESCO put the Dom on its red list of endangered buildings, meaning that it could drop the Dom from the organization as a world heritage site.



As I have mentioned in other posts, the Dom was greatly appreciated for its place within the overall landscape of the city and the surrounding area--even before it was completed, it was reputed for the way of broke the horizon over the Rhine River. Most travelers of the nineteenth century would reach the city by the evening, seeing the huge structure against the early evening sky. Hugo mentions the silhouette frequently. Even more importantly, it was used in many German images (photographs and paintings) in order to inject a shot of spirituality and history to contemporary subjects. If the development goes forward, perhaps it should lose its place in UNESCO. Imagine if the Lincoln Memorial were surrounded by high-rise apartments.

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