This summer I paid a visit to Köln, with Santiago de Compostella and Canterbury one of the important pilgrimage destinations in the Middle Ages. According to medieval legend the wise men who visited Jesus at his birth were three in number, kings from different generations. The shiny golden casket at the back of the choir in the picture above is their reliquary.
The fact that the relics in Köln agree with the ages mentioned in the legend, those of a grandfather, father and son visiting Jesus should make one very sceptical indeed. As the men travelled back to their home in the East they should not only have instantly died, but also their identity retrieved and their bones identified more than a thousand years later, not even mentioning the geographical distance, to finally turn up in Cologne to make the church a lot of money. Perhaps here is where existentialism and creating our own truths and reality began, as people decided these relics were a “true” representation, worthy of veneration. An impressive building nonetheless, the highest cathedral in the world, once it was finally finished in the 19th century.