Pope Benedict XVI is in Cologne for World Youth Day on his first visit abroad and his first return to his home country since his election as pope. The visit began with a boat trip on the Rhine from where he greeted thousands of young pilgrims along the river banks.

On Friday he maked a historic visit to the Cologne synagogue, which is only the second time a pope has visited a synagogue, following John Paul IIs visit to the one in Rome in April 1986. This visit in Cologne is being seen as of particular importance as it is taking place in the country where the holocaust began. The pope met representatives of the Jewish, Protestant and Islamic communities during his time in Cologne and he is expected to have private meetings with representatives of the German government.

On Sunday he will attend the final mass of World Youth Day, which up to a million people are expected to attend.

The World Youth Day in Cologne is being seen by many as the Youth Day of the two popes, called by the much loved Pope John Paul II and conducted by his successor, but Benedict XVI is expected to impress his own style on the event.