Aachen, Germany City Highlights

By | August 6, 2021

Aachen Cathedral
The cathedral of Aachen was completed in the year 800 and has been the symbol of the city ever since. According to franciscogardening, Aachen is a city located in Germany bordering with Belgium and the Netherlands. This is the coronation church of the German kings and at the same time the burial place of Charlemagne (748 – 814), the most famous representative of the Carolingian dynasty.

He was the grandson of Karl Martell, who in 732 near Poitiers and Tours in France was able to repel the Moors pushing from the Iberian Peninsula into the Franconian Empire. From 768 Charles was king of the Franks and was in the year 800 in Rome by Pope Leo III. crowned Roman emperor.

In 814 he died in Aachen, where he had also spent a large part of the last two decades of his life. The Aachen Cathedral, which was actually built as a palatine chapel for Karl, is the most important point of attraction the city has to offer because of its historicity and its link with the great emperor. In addition to its immense importance, the sacred building impresses with its impressive architecture and rich interior design.

Important aspects of the cathedral that you should definitely pay attention to when visiting:

The choir hall
The Gothic extension of the choir hall dates from 1414 and has 27 meter high windows. Around 1,000 m² of glass area can be viewed here.

In the choir hall there is also:
The Karlsschrein
The golden shrine dates from 1215 and is in the choir hall. It is said to contain the bones of the great emperor.

The Shrine of Mary 
The shrine, constructed in 1239, stands behind the altar. In it lie the four Aachen sanctuaries, which are composed of the alleged diaper and loincloth of Jesus Christ as well as the decapitation cloth of John the Baptist and the robe of Mary. They are shown to pilgrims from all over the world every seven years. The last one took place in 2000, so the next one will take place in 2007.

The marble throne
The throne stands in the west of the cathedral and was most likely erected on the occasion of Otto I’s coronation. In its history it served 31 rulers until 1531 (including Otto I) as the place of their coronation as German king.

The Palatine Chapel
This is the oldest part of the cathedral. The instructions to build this chapel were given by Charlemagne himself. He was inspired by the Eastern Roman imperial churches.

Charlemagne’s sarcophagus
The marble sarcophagus has been on display since the 14th century. Charlemagne was probably buried in it.

The Treasury
The most important church treasure north of the Alps is here. These include, for example, the Lothar cross and the silver-gold bust of Charlemagne from the 14th century. In 1978, both the Aachen Cathedral and the Cathedral Treasury were the first German monuments to be placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
You can find an even more detailed description of the cathedral and its history at: Aachen Cathedral

Aachen City Hall, Granus Tower
The Aachen City Hall dates from the 14th century and was built in the Gothic style. Originally the palace auditorium of the Carolingian imperial palace stood here, but only the Granus Tower has survived. The Granus Tower from 788 is the oldest building in Aachen. The wonderful town hall is also worth a visit because of its beauty inside and especially enchants with the coronation hall on the first floor. This room is dominated by frescoes by the Aachen artist Alfred Rethel. It features fabulous episodes from the life of the 800 in Rometo see Charles crowned emperor. The lower rooms are richly furnished and are reminiscent of Aachen in the 17th and 18th centuries, when the town hall was converted into a city palace in the Baroque style.
It should be mentioned that Emperor Charles IV (1316-1378) celebrated a coronation mark here for the first time in 1349 after the “reconstruction”. After the coronation and the enthronement, the coronation mark was the third part of the coronation ceremony. The town hall of Aachen is one of the very important landmarks of the city.

Aachen, the coronation site of the German kings for 600 years, was of course also home to the so-called Aachen imperial regalia. These consisted of the imperial gospel, the Stephansburse and the saber of Charlemagne. They were used at every new coronation and played an immense role in those days. Replicas of these objects can be seen in today’s town hall. However, the original pieces are in a treasure trove in Vienna.


Frankenberg Castle (Frankenburg)
This castle is located in Aachen’s Frankenberg district, the name of which is derived from the name “Franke” and characterizes an independent castle. This dates back to the 13th century and shortly after it was built it became the property of the margraves. The dukes of Jülich, Kleve and Berg later had them at their disposal. Turned into ruins in the 18th and 19th centuries, it was restored between 1834 and 1838. Later, the district of the same name, which can still be seen today, was built around the castle. The castle was destroyed in World War II, but repaired in the 1960s and 1970s. The castle currently houses the Aachen local history museum as well as a coin cabinet and the keep of the castle parts of the collections of the Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum.

Fastrada legend

Charlemagne was not only considered to be the builder of the Frankenburg (but he died in the 9th century, with the castle itself not being built around 400 years later), he is also said to have been emotionally connected to this building. The so-called Fastrada legend tells that a snake gave Karl a ring that had the power to give every wearer eternal love for Karl. As a good husband, Karl naturally gave the ring to his wife at the time, Fastrada, but after her death he understandably went mad with grief. Turpin, the Archbishop of Reims, discovered the magic and threw the ring into the pond of Frankenberg Castle out of concern for the emperor’s state of mind. It is therefore not surprising that Karl – or so the legend has it – always remained connected to the castle and often stayed there to find inner peace.

Aachen, Germany City Highlights