The world's largest gathering of Catholic youth takes place in Cologne in mid-August. DW-WORLD looks at the event and offers insight on the issues at stake when 800,000 Catholics meet to celebrate their religion.
The 2005 World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany, is an event of superlatives. With some 800,000 youths from more than 190 countries descending on the Rhine region for a week of prayer and religious festivities, the cities of Cologne, Bonn and Düsseldorf will be hard at work showing they are the perfect hosts.
Security will be at an all-time high as Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Germany for the first time since taking over the papal seat from his predecessor John Paul II. Police and intelligence officers will be doing everything they can to ensure safety in the crowds and ward off any possible attacks.
Described as the biggest high-profile international event to take place in the Rhine region in the last decades, the World Youth Day requires an immense amount of logistical planning covering everything from visa applications and accommodation for pilgrims to organizing volunteers, to ensuring protection of the environment.
Of course, the event also presents itself as a showcase for the Catholic Church and for the new pope in particular. All eyes will be on Germany's Benedict XVI, watching for signs of how he plans to lead the church on key controversial issues.
DW-WORLD will follow these events from the preparation stage to the opening and closing ceremonies, all the while providing insight on the main points of discussion. Additional dossiers on the new pope and Germany's religious environment help add context to the World Youth Day. And for those interested in exploring the rest of Germany, the travel section Visit Germany gives sightseeing tips to nearby destinations.