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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.
The University of Cologne (Universität zu Köln) is one of Europe's oldest and largest universities.
This legal situation lasted until the French conquest of Cologne.
In 953, the archbishops of Cologne first gained noteworthy secular power, when bishop Bruno was appointed as duke by his brother Otto I, King of Germany.
In order to weaken the secular nobility, who threatened his power, Otto endowed Bruno and his successors on the bishop's see with the prerogatives of secular princes, thus establishing the Electorate of Cologne, formed by the temporal possessions of the archbishopric and included in the end a strip of territory along the left Bank of the Rhine east of Jülich, as well as the Duchy of Westphalia on the other side of the Rhine, beyond Berg and Mark.
Cologne is located on both sides of the Rhine, near Germany's borders with Belgium and the Netherlands.
The city's famous Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) is the seat of the Catholic Archbishop of Cologne.