The current church (there were several older versions on the same site dating back to the late Roman period) was built on the foundation of an older church. Relics of the Magi were brought to Köln from Milan in 1164 and the church became one of the most important pilgrimage sites throughout Europe. Therefore the older church was torn down and the current one begun in order to hold the faithful. By 1322 the Gothic choir was consecrated and the western end closed by a wall so services could be held as construction continued on another portion. By 1530 work slowed and then stopped and the cathedral was left with two portions that remained unconnected until work resumed in 1842.
"In a special compartment of the shrine now there showed - along with remains of ancient old
rotten or moulded bandages, most likely byssus, besides pieces of aromatic resins and similar
substances - numerous bones of three persons, which under the guidance of several present
experts could be assembled into nearly complete bodies: the one in his early youth, the second
in his early manhood, the third was rather aged."