Utrecht is a city in the central Netherlands 26 miles (42km) southeast of Amsterdam. It sits along the Kromme Rijn (Winding, or Crooked, Rhine), Oude (Old) Rijn, and Vecht rivers and the Amsterdam-Rijn Canal. Its original Roman name, Trajectum ad Rhenum (Ford on the Rhine) later became Ultrajectum and then Utrecht. The site of successive Roman, Frisian, and Frankish fortresses, Utrecht became an important bishopric and centre for the spread of christainity in the area. Under its bishops, Utrecht was the most powerful and important town in the northern Netherlands throughout the Middle Ages until it was surpassed by Amsterdam in the 15th century.
The city's Maliebaan (1636), a tree shaded wharf along the canal, is one of the finest promenades in The Netherlands and boasts restaurants, shops and cafes. Utrecht has numerous museums, including the Central Museum (art, history, archaeological findings), The Netherlands Railway Museum, The Netherlands Gold and Silver Museum, the Clock and Watchmaking Museum, the Museum of Modern Religious Art, the Old Catholic Museum, and the National Museum "from Music Box to Barrel Organ."
All that remains of Utrecht's magnificent cathedral (built between 1254 and 1517) are the transept and 370 ft (113m) tower - the tallest church tower in The Netherlands. The cathedral's nave collapsed in a storm of 1674 and was never rebuilt. This is a city of churches, with more restored religious buildings than any other city in Europe - all in a variety of styles reflecting numerous additions and restorations. These churches include Jans Church (1040), Sint Pieters Church (1048), Nicolai Church (1131), Jacobi Church (1173), Buur Church (10th century), Geerte Church (1260), and Sint Catharijne Church (1468, now the Roman Catholic cathedral). You can also visit the Paushuize (Pope's House) completed in 1523 for the only Dutch pope, Adrian VI, who was a native of Utrecht.
The following 22 cruises call at Utrecht.
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