The Aachen Cathedral is one of the oldest cathedrals in Europe and is reputed to be the oldest north of the Alps. It was built by the great Emperor Charlemagne of the Frankish Empire and has played a very central role in German history ever since. The Aachen Cathedral along with the Aachen Cathedral Treasury was even the first German monument to be UNESCO World Heritage Listed.
Another of Europe's most remarkable cathedrals include the Cathedral of Seville in Spain. Seville Cathedral was the first to replace the Hagia Sophia as the largest church in the world and is today the resting place of Christopher Columbus. If one is going to the Vatican City, plan ahead and get a guided tour to the underground Necropolis that supposedly has the tomb of Saint Peter.
Aachen - Germany's Ancient Imperial Capital & Cathedral
"Charlemagne intended his Church of St. Mary to become a complete image of the Heavenly Jerusalem, symbolizing the contact of the Earthly and the Heavenly."Aachen Cathedral
Aachen is one of the oldest and most historic cities in Germany and for a long time was the capital of the lands of what is today Germany and beyond. It was famous from Roman times for having some of the best hot springs in all of Europe.
The Aachen Cathedral was built around 803 AD and between 936 and 1531, it saw the coronation of thirty-one German Kings and twelve queens. Today it has stood for 1200 years and is still going strong. It is also the burial place of Emperor Charlemagne and has been a place of pilgrimage.
- Built: Around 800 AD
- Coronated: 31 Germany Kings and 12 Queens
Today the cathedral is open daily until 7 pm - but it is closed to tourists during church services. Normal visiting hours are usually Mondays to Saturdays from 11 am and Sundays from 1 pm to 5:45 pm.
- Tip: The Cathedral is Closed During Church Services To Tourists
Explore With A Guided Tour
The best way to explore the Aachen Cathedral is with a guided tour. Some parts of the cathedral such as the choir hall and the king’s throne in the Hochmünster is only possible with a cathedral tour. Guided tours are also only permitted by guides who have been authorized by the cathedral chapter.
The meeting point for the guided tours is the Dominformation and tickets are only available at the Dominformation. Tours are limited to 15 people and tours cannot be pre-ordered or reserved.
Public cathedral tours are scheduled for the following times:
- Mon-Fr: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (hourly, at 2 p.m. in English)
- Sa: 1 to 6 p.m. (hourly, at 2 in English)
- Sun: 1 to 5 p.m. (hourly, at 2 in English)
The Aachen Cathedral Treasury
ch of Aachen Cathedral's notoriety stems from its treasury. The treasury is today a museum that houses some of the most important collections of medieval church artworks in Europe. The treasury contains works from the Late Antique, Carolingian, Ottonian, Staufen, and Gothic times. The tradition of the cathedral is also for pilgrims to be able some of the relics every seven years
Group tours of the Cathedral Treasury can be booked daily on request and the price is 80 Euros per group tour (and 100 Euro for a foreign language tour) - plus admission to the Cathedral Treasury.
Some of the most important objects in its collection are The Cross of Lothair, Bust of Charlemagne, and Persephone sarcophagus
The Aachen Cathedral's Devil Legend
As with so many major projects, funding is often an issue. The construction of the Aachen Cathedral was so different and legend has it that the people of Aachen ran out of funds to finish the cathedral. The story goes that they found a workaround by making a deal with the devil to get the remaining funds needed.
The deal was for the devil to get the soul of the first person to enter the cathedral. But the cunning people of Aachen tricked the devil by releasing a wolf into the cathedral with the devil quickly taking its soul. Infuriated by the tricky, the devil then stormed from the cathedral but severed his thumb in the lion head door handles.
When visiting the cathedral keep this myth in mind and look for the statue of the wolf at the entrance to the cathedral and the devil's thumb inside the lion's mouth.