Aachen, Germany: The Aachen Cathedral
About the Cathedral in Aachen:
Begun around 796, this is the oldest Cathedral in Europe. It was the site of the coronation of 30 kings and 12 queens from 936 to 1531. In addition to its architecture it is notable for two reasons:
1. It is the location of the tomb of Charles the Great (Charlemagne).
It was during his reign that, through military conquest, much of Europe was united for the first time since the fall of Rome to what would later become known as the “Holy Roman Empire”.
He had a great deal to do with preserving Christianity in Europe and under his rule, the Carolingian Renaissance flourished, as he encouraged a cultural and intellectual revival in Europe. In 800 AD he was crowned “Emperor of the Romans” by Pope Leo III. He was buried here on January 28, 814, the same date as his birth.
2. The Chapel of Saint Mary contains several relics:
St. Mary’s cloak, Christ’s swaddling clothes, St. John the Baptist’s beheading cloth and Christ’s loincloth.
The Cathedral is open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. April to December and 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. January through March. Several Masses are held each day, so check out their website for times.
Guided tours are available almost hourly from 10:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. There is an English-language tour at 2:00 p.m.
Every Seven years these relics are put on display, a tradition that began in 1349. This is known as the pilgrimage of Aachen and takes place over several days.
There are many regional express trains from Cologne (Koln Hbf) that take about one hour. Get train & bus schedules, see fares & buy tickets here.
Address: Domhof 1, 52062 Aachen
GPS coordinates: 50° 46′ 28.5780” N, 6° 5′ 0.2904” E
Tel: +49 241 477090
Click here for the official website of the Aachen Cathedral.
1. Madden, Daniel M. A Religious Guide to Europe.
New York: Macmillan, 1975. Print
2. Photo credit: Wikipedia.
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