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Aachen Cathedral - Relics, pilgrims and coronations

Aachen Cathedral is one of the best preserved architectural monuments from Carolingian times. It is widely regarded as the earliest example of a domed ecclesiastical building north of the Alps and houses four major relics. From 936-1531 it was the coronation church for thirty German kings and emperors.
The former Palatinate chapel of the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne is an architectural masterpiece. The first vaulted structure north of the Alps, it is characterised by Classical and Byzantine styles of architecture. When Charlemagne began building his Palatinate chapel in Aachen in 786 he was dreaming of creating a "New Rome". Instead, he laid the foundations for one of the most important and awe-inspiring buildings in Europe.
In the centre of the choir polygon stands the golden shrine of Charlemagne, which contains his remains and dates from 1215. Behind the altar is the shrine of the Virgin Mary. It was completed in 1239 and contains the four "great relics" of Aachen which have been exhibited to pilgrims from around the world every seven years since 1349. Aachen also became a meeting place for thousands of pilgrims on the St. James' Pilgrimage Way to Santiago de Compostela.
The Aachen Cathedral treasury displays sacred masterpieces from the late Classical, Carolingian, Ottonian and Hohenstaufen periods. Among them is the Cross of Lothair, the bust of Charlemagne and the Persephone tomb. Many of the ivory and gold pieces on display were donated by kings crowned in Aachen. These priceless relics are amongst the most important ecclesiastical treasures in Europe. Open daily, tours available, closed to visitors during services



A4, A44, A544, E40, train station