The Cologne Cathedral big St Peter’s bell
In 1921, the Zentral-Dombau-Verein (Friends of the Cathedral Association) proposed that a new bell be cast for the cathedral.
Citizens of the city, including its lord mayor, Konrad Adenauer, wrote a letter to the German Chancellor requesting metal for the project. This letter was submitted by Archbishop Cardinal Schulte on 15 January 1922.
The invitation to tender was open to foundries all over Europe and the tender documents stipulated that the bell’s strike note should be a perfect C and its first overtone E. Only one tender was submitted, namely by the Apolda-based company Ulrich.
On 13 March 1922, the Metropolitan Chapter commissioned Ulrich to cast the bell, which it did on 5 May of the following year. The ornamentation on the bell was designed by sculptor Heinrich Renard.
This famous bell has a diameter of 3.22 metres and a weight of 24,000 kg (nearly 11 tons).
St Peter’s bell is decorated with numerous inscriptions, figured presentations and coats of arms.
The best known inscription reads:
“St Peter is my name – I protect the German land. / Born out of German suffering – I call for unity.”
St Peter’s bell rings only on high feast days.
But its deep voice also sounded at the end of the Second World War and to mark the reunification of Germany in 1990.
Listen to St Peter’s bell