I think that Alt St. Alban might be Cologne’s version of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin. It is one of the oldest Romanesque churches in the city and dates back to 1172, but (like so many other places in the city centre) was gutted and destroyed during the bombing nights of World War 2. After the war, it was not restored but left in its current state, as a memorial to those who perished between 1939 and 1945.
The impressive and sobering church skeleton (which can only be viewed from the street and not entered) is surrounded by the equally medieval yet restored walls of the Gürzenich, a 15th-century festive hall. There are two statues in the church yard. One is ‘The Grieving Parents’, a replica of a work by renowned sculptress Käthe Kollwitz, which was installed in 1954 and created by artists Joseph Beuys and Erwin Heerich. There’s also a memorial to POWs: it’s a metal scroll held by chains that reads ‘There are still prisoners of war waiting for their return’.
This is a good place to stop and take a breath when on a shopping tour in the old town, and to remember that everything around you once lay in ruins.