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A full eight years before construction of the cathedral was completed, a competition was held to determine how the cathedral interior would be decorated. This competition triggered a debate about the most suitable flooring for the cathedral. A revised version of August von Essenwein’s ‘general plan’ from 1887 was eventually selected. Essenwein, who considered mosaic to be a more stable and hard-wearing solution than intarsia, had proposed laying a floor mosaic made of Villeroy & Boch ceramic tesserae in the choir and crossing, and plain sandstone slabs in the nave and transepts. The floor mosaic covers three main themes, each of which is portrayed in a different part of the choir: the history of the archdiocese takes up the entire ambulatory and features the names and coats of arms of a number of Cologne’s bishops and archbishops; the Christian world order and humankind are portrayed in the inner choir; and the cosmos is depicted in the crossing. In Essenwein’s lifetime, responsibility for the project was transferred to the Freiburg glass-painter Fritz Geiges. The floor mosaic, which was completed in 1899, measures 1,350 square metres and is the largest work of art in the cathedral.