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Alter Markt (Old Market)

The city’s former marketplace is now a lively spot known for its café culture and carnivals.

Alter Markt, which means “old market” in English, is a focal point of Cologne. The square is located just steps from the Rhine River and Cologne’s main shopping precinct, and is overlooked by the City Hall. Pull up a chair at one of the many cafés lining the square and enjoy a locally brewed beer.

The area was once a large medieval market and the site of jousting tournaments. Today, visitors will find traditional German architecture and old monuments dedicated to the city’s founders. Outdoor café terraces and open-air concerts fill the square in the warmer months. Thousands of tourists come for the annual Christmas market, held here in December, when there’s a skating rink, fairy lights and food stalls. Kids will particularly love the attractions at these daily markets, including a carousel and puppet theater.

In the very center of the square you’ll see a fountain constructed in 1884 to commemorate Jan von Werth, a successful army general who served in the Thirty Years’ War. Reliefs tell the story of von Werth and Griet, a woman who he had fallen in love with as a young man and who rejected him as he wasn’t from a wealthy family. Von Werth left Cologne and joined the army. When he returned years later, after marrying a noblewoman, he saw Griet, now an old woman, alone and full of regret about what could have been.

Look up at the top of the façade of house No. 24 and you’ll find a more lighthearted sculpture, the Kallendresser, a bronze depiction of a man with his trousers down. It was created in 1956 by sculptor Ewald Mataré, though its meaning is unknown. Some believe it to be a political statement directed at the adjacent City Hall.

Alter Markt is a short walk south of Cologne Cathedral. The closest U-Bahn stations are Heumarkt and Dom/Hauptbahnhof.


Guide to Exploring around Alter Markt


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Alter Markt

See all 739 Properties near Alter Markt
Maritim Hotel Köln $83
Maritim Hotel Köln

Maritim Hotel Köln

Heumarkt 20, Cologne, NW
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Innenstadt, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Haymarket, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, and Alter Markt. City Hall and Great St. Martin Church are also within 10 minutes. Heumarkt U-Bahn is only a 3-minute walk and Deutzer Freiheit U-Bahn is 11 minutes.

    Cologne Marriott Hotel $81
    Cologne Marriott Hotel

    Cologne Marriott Hotel

    Johannisstr. 76-80, Cologne, NW
       
      5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Innenstadt, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Musical Dome, Romano-Germanic Museum, and City Hall. Cologne Cathedral and Museum Ludwig are also within 10 minutes. Cologne Central Station is 6 minutes by foot and Ebertplatz U-Bahn is 11 minutes.

      Hilton Cologne $88
      Hilton Cologne

      Hilton Cologne

      Marzellenstr. 13-17, Cologne, NW
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Innenstadt, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Hohe Strasse and Cologne Cathedral. Romano-Germanic Museum and City Hall are also within 10 minutes. Cologne Central Station is only a 3-minute walk and Appellhofplatz Breite Strasse U-Bahn is 8 minutes.

        Dorint Hotel am Heumarkt Köln $114
        Dorint Hotel am Heumarkt Köln

        Dorint Hotel am Heumarkt Köln

        Pipinstrasse 1, Cologne, NW
           
          5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Innenstadt, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Hohe Strasse, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, and Haymarket. Alter Markt and City Hall are also within 10 minutes. Heumarkt U-Bahn is only a 3-minute walk and Neumarkt U-Bahn is 8 minutes.

          Maternushaus $61
          Maternushaus

          Maternushaus

          Kardinal-Frings-Str. 1-3, Cologne, NRW
             
            3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Innenstadt, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of MediaPark and Cologne Cathedral. Romano-Germanic Museum and City Hall are also within 15 minutes. Appellhofplatz Breite Strasse U-Bahn is 6 minutes by foot and Cologne Hansaring Station is 8 minutes.

            Domapartment Cologne City Altstadt $55
            Domapartment Cologne City Altstadt

            Domapartment Cologne City Altstadt

            Domstraße 31, Cologne, NRW
               
              3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Innenstadt, this apartment building is within a 10-minute walk of Musical Dome, Cologne Cathedral, and Romano-Germanic Museum. City Hall and Alter Markt are also within 15 minutes. Ebertplatz U-Bahn is 9 minutes by foot and Cologne Central Station is 6 minutes.

              Centro Hotel Kommerz $58
              Centro Hotel Kommerz

              Centro Hotel Kommerz

              Johannisstraße 30-34, Cologne, NW
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Innenstadt, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Musical Dome and Museum Ludwig. Romano-Germanic Museum and City Hall are also within 10 minutes. Cologne Central Station is only a 4-minute walk and Heumarkt U-Bahn is 11 minutes.

                Hotel Königshof The Arthouse $52
                Hotel Königshof The Arthouse

                Hotel Königshof The Arthouse

                Richartzstr. 14-16, Cologne
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Innenstadt, this hotel is steps from Galerie Der Spiegel and Cologne Cathedral. Romano-Germanic Museum and City Hall are also within 10 minutes. Appellhofplatz Breite Strasse U-Bahn is 7 minutes by foot and Heumarkt U-Bahn is 10 minutes.