Shrine of the Three Kings

Cologne, Germany

Shrine of the Three Kings


The Shrine of the Three Kings (German Dreik├Ânigsschrein or Der Dreik├Ânigenschrein), Tomb of the Three Kings, or Tomb of the Three Magi is a reliquary traditionally believed to contain the bones of the Biblical Magi, also known as the Three Kings or the Three Wise Men. The shrine is a large gilded and decorated triple sarcophagus placed above and behind the high altar of Cologne Cathedral in western Germany. Built approximately from 1180 to 1225, it is considered the high point of Mosan art and the largest reliquary in the Western world.

The "relics of the Magi" were originally situated at Constantinople, but brought to Milan in an oxcart by Eustorgius I, the city's bishop, to whom they were entrusted by the Emperor Constantine in 314. Eight centuries later in 1164, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa took the relics of the Magi from the church of Saint Eustorgio in Milan and gave them to the Archbishop of Cologne, Rainald of Dassel. The relics have since attracted a constant stream of pilgrims to Cologne.

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