Shopping in Cologne's Schildergasse
Where once the Romans marched is now the busiest shopping street in Germany
Shop where Romans once marched: the Schildergasse is not only Germany’s most visited shopping street, it is also the second oldest street in Cologne.
Roman legions once marched where today shopping tourists from around the world stroll down the cobbled streets: in ancient times the Schildergasse and Hohe Straße were the central axes of the Roman “Colonia”. Today they are the most popular shopping streets in Cologne’s city centre. What's more, the Schildergasse is the second-oldest street in Cologne and once formed the beginning of a trade route leading to the centre of Gaul. It is 534 metres long and, together with Hohe Straße (High Street), forms the main pedestrian area in North Rhine-Westphalia's largest city.
14.500 visitors per hour
A 2014 count showed that 14,590 visitors move about the Schildergasse per hour. This makes the Schildergasse Germany’s most visited shopping street. Visitors are attracted mainly to the large clothing and shoe stores, but also to the numerous perfumeries, sports shops and mobile phone shops.
Largest department store in cologne
Galeria Kaufhof’s flagship store is located at the crossroads between the Schildergasse and Hohe Straße: it is the cathedral city’s largest department store and the second largest in Germany. Another building on the Schildergasse building that stands out in particular on account of its architecture is the Weltstadthaus, which was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano and now houses a fashion chain.
Nearby Ehrenstraße, which is particularly popular with younger visitors, was never trodden by Roman legionaries, although it was walked by “ladies of the night” up until the 1960s. Then came the artists – and eventually funky fashion. Today, trendy boutiques alternate with street cafés and fashion stores. Anyone interested in a touch more luxury can take a detour to nearby Mittelstraße.