Cologne (German: Köln) is Germany's fourth-largest city (after Berlin, Hamburg and Munich), and is the largest city both in the German Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants. Cologne is a major cultural centre, and its University is among the oldest and largest of Europe.
- In Köln, a town of monks and bones,
And pavement fang'd with murderous stones,
And rags and hags, and hideous wenches,
I counted two-and-seventy stenches,
All well defined, and several stinks!
Ye nymphs that reign o'er sewers and sinks,
The River Rhine, it is well known,
Doth wash your city of Cologne;
But tell me, nymphs! what power divine
Shall henceforth wash the river Rhine?
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Cologne; reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 124.