Cologne Cathedral’s narrow central aisle or nave leads to the choir. At 144 metres, it is longest nave in Germany and flanked by two aisles along each side.
In the transept is a modern bronze altar that was created by Elmar Hillebrand between 1960 and 1971. Behind the altar are the choir stalls, which were carved from 1308 to 1311. The 104 seats make it one of the biggest surviving medieval choir stalls in Germany. A special feature of these choir stalls is that they include reserved seats for the Pope and the Emperor. The choir screen pictures were painted in about 1340 and depict 21 narrative scenes. Above the paintings in the choir are older pier sculptures of Jesus, Mary and the twelve apostles.
In the centre of the chevet is the high altar, which is consecrated to St. Paul the Apostle. Behind the high altar is the Shrine of the Magi, which, like a basilica, embodies the Trinity. This outstanding piece of medieval goldsmith’s art is 1.10 metres wide, 1.53 metres tall and 2.20 metres long. It weighs 300 kilograms and was created at the behest of Archbishop Phillip von Heinsberg to house the relics of the Three Wise Men or Magi. Along with the remains of the Three Wise Men, the shrine contains those of the venerated martyrs Felix, Nabor and (possibly) Gregory of Spoleto.