Saturday, 8 July 2017


Over the last weeks we have seen several fantastic places in Germany. Today we will finish our trip in yet another UNESCO World Heritage site - Aachen. Its cathedral was built in eighth century and due to its uniqueness was inscribed on the UNESCO list back in 1978, during the very first session.

The city of Aachen was founded by Charlemagne or Charles the Great who has ruled half of the Europe and was crowned as emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Since Charlemagne was French, in his time the city was known as Aix-la-Chapelle, with reference to thermal baths that were located there and that provided healing and relief to the king.

The baths are still working today.

Just have a look at this impressive list of guests. And it is only one of many tables like that in the bath building.

Do you want to try yourself - here it comes, the world famous healing water from Aix-la-Chapelle.

Do you feel refreshed? Then let's move to see more of the famous city. I propose we follow the carolingian path.

Of course it is not the only path that crosses Aachen. I am sure that you will not be surprised to find out that Aachen lies on the path to Santiago.

This street looks interesting. And I think that I see the "Karolus" sign further down the road. Let's turn left.

Finally, we arrive in the proximity of the cathedral. As you may see, its main part has an unusual shape of an octagon. It is a former chapel built by Charlemagne next to the Aachen Palace.

Actually it is not so easy to spot it from the outside. In fact, it is not easy at all to see the real shape of the cathedral since it is surrounded by buildings and trees.

Here you can see the whole construction from a better perspective.

Do you want to go inside? Of course, let's go! Have you noticed those strange rectangular shapes with grass in it? This is not grass, these are healing and kitchen herbs described by Charlemagne himself, which we have already seen in Marksburg last week. They grow here happily in the shadow of the Aachen cathedral.

But now it is time to admire the cathedral from the inside.  Let's take the main entrance.

First, we need to pass by the long, rectangular atrium sided with huge stained glass windows.

But the heart of the cathedral is the hexagonal Palatinate Chapel, where numerous emperors and German kings were crowned.

From the dome, hangs the Barbarosssa chandelier, donated by Emperor Frederick I and his wife in the middle of the eleventh century.

The upper part of the dome is ornamented with golden paintings.

Have you noticed that I told you that the Aachen cathedral was born as a palace chapel? I am sure you would love to visit Charlemagne's palace. Unfortunately it did not survive to our days. But on its side, one of its main halls where the emperor used to hold his (probably long and fascinating) speeches, was converted into Aachen's Town Hall.

Impressive, isn't it? Over the centuries, the building has burnt and suffered severe damages during the war. It was reconstructed and remains the seat of the mayor of Aachen.

And if the mayor decides to look through his window, he can spot the one who is surely his (or her) role model. The one and only. Charlemagne himself.

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