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Cologne (English: kə-LOHN; German: Köln [kœln]; Kölsch: Kölle [ˈkœlə]) is the largest city of Germany's most populous federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the fourth-most populous city in Germany. With slightly over a million inhabitants (1.08 million) within its city boundaries, Cologne is the largest city on the Rhine and also the most populous city both of the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Region, which is Germany's largest and one of Europe's major metropolitan areas, and of the Rhineland. Centered on the left bank of the Rhine, Cologne is about 45 kilometres (28 mi) southeast of North Rhine-Westphalia's capital of Düsseldorf and 25 kilometres (16 mi) northwest of Bonn. It is the largest city in the Central Franconian and Ripuarian dialect areas. The city's Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) is the seat of the Catholic Archbishop of Cologne. There are many institutions of higher education in the city, most notably the University of Cologne (Universität zu Köln), one of Europe's oldest and largest universities, the Technical University of Cologne (Technische Hochschule Köln), Germany's largest university of applied sciences, and the German Sport University Cologne (Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln), Germany's only sport university.
Cologne Bonn Airport (Flughafen Köln/Bonn) is Germany's seventh-largest airport and lies in the southeast of the cityThe main airport for the Rhine-Ruhr region is Düsseldorf Airport. Cologne was founded and established in Ubii territory in the 1st century AD as the Roman Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium, the first word of which is the origin of its name. An alternative Latin name of the settlement is Augusta Ubiorum, after the Ubii. "Cologne", the French version of the city's name, has become standard in English as well. Cologne functioned as the capital of the Roman province of Germania Inferior and as the headquarters of the Roman military in the region until occupied by the Franks in 462.
During the Middle Ages the city flourished as being located on one of the most important major trade routes between east and western EuropeCologne was one of the leading members of the Hanseatic League and one of the largest cities north of the Alps in medieval and Renaissance times. Prior to World War II, the city had undergone several occupations by the French and also by the British (1918–1926). Cologne was one of the most heavily bombed cities in Germany during World War II, with the Royal Air Force (RAF) dropping 34,711 long tons (35,268 tonnes) of bombs on the city. The bombing reduced the population by 95%, mainly due to evacuation, and destroyed almost the entire city. With the intention of restoring as many historic buildings as possible, the successful postwar rebuilding has resulted in a very mixed and unique cityscape. Cologne is a major cultural centre for the Rhineland; it hosts more than 30 museums and hundreds of galleries.
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