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The Catholic Church of St. Ursula is one of the most popular in Cologne. The church is located in the north of the Old Town, on the Ursulaplatz square. The building is presented in the form of a three-aisled Romanesque basilica without a transept with a single bell tower.
According to archaeological data, earlier this place was a hall temple with an eastern apse. In our time, the exact date of the foundation of the monastery of St. Ursula is still not known for certain. The first written mention dates back to 911.
The rebuilding of the altar part in the temple took place during the reign of Herman I, during the same period a T-shaped monument was built with 11 crayfish (an ark with relics) with relics related to 11 martyrs. Until 1164, the relics of St. Ursula in the city were considered the main shrine, until the relics of the Three Kings were brought to Cologne by Raynald von Dassel.
According to legend, Ursula, the daughter of one of the kings of Britain, took a vow of virginity in youth. However, Aetherius, the pagan king who lived next door, was captivated by her beauty and desired to take Ursula as his wife. He announced to her father that if he refused, he would go to war with him. Ursula considered the proposal for a long time, until an angel appeared to her. After the vision, she was forced to agree to the marriage, but on condition that the groom would be converted to the Christian faith, and the wedding was postponed for three years. Soon she is going on a sea voyage, at the same time asks her father for 11 three-oared ships and 10 virgins as companions of noble origin. Each maiden was to be accompanied by a thousand maidservants.
Shortly before the end of the three-year period, Ursula's fleet falls into a violent storm and belongs to the shores of Holland, after which it reaches Cologne along the Rhine. Here an angel appears to Ursula, who tells her to continue her journey to Rome. The fleet sails to Basel, and then the travelers continue their journey overland. In Rome, Ursula learns of her martyrdom, but this does not stop her, and she returns to Cologne. At that time the city was under the siege of the Huns. Noticing the arriving maidens, the barbarians begin to kill one after another, but they do not touch Ursula, as their leader liked her, and he demanded her to be his wife. Ursula refused him, and the offended barbarian shot an arrow into the body of the maiden. After that, 11 thousand angels descend from heaven, who put the Huns to flight, liberate the besieged city. The rescued townspeople bury the bodies of the martyrs as a token of gratitude. After a while, the townspeople build a basilica at the place of death of the martyrs. The bodies of the virgins and of Ursula herself were buried in the Roman cemetery in Cologne. During the construction of the temple, numerous skulls were discovered, which were attributed to the remains of virgins. Thousands of human bones are currently kept in the Golden Chamber of the church.
In the 12th century, during the expansion of the city walls, a burial was discovered near the church, which the townspeople perceived as confirmation of the legend of Ursula and her companions ... Then it was decided to build a new temple. Throughout its history, the temple was expanded and rebuilt.
During the Second World War, the church was turned into ruins.
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Topic: Church of St. Ursula in Germany, resort of Cologne.