Aachen Cathedral – A UNESCO Heritage in Germany

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Construction of this palatine chapel, with its octagonal basilica and cupola, began c. 790–800 under the Emperor Charlemagne. Originally inspired by the churches of the Eastern part of the Holy Roman Empire, it was splendidly enlarged in the Middle Ages. It is one of the oldest cathedrals in Europe and was constructed by order of the emperor Charlemagne, who was buried there after his death in 814. For 595 years, from 936 to 1531, the Palatine Chapel, heart of the cathedral, was the church of coronation for thirty-one German kings and twelve queens. In 1978, listed in UNESCO World Heritage List.

Location

Located in Aachen, western Germany.

About Aachen Cathedral

  • The construction of the chapel between 793 and 813 symbolises the unification of the West and its spiritual and political revival under the aegis of Charlemagne. Originally inspired by the churches of the eastern part of the Holy Roman Empire, the octagonal core was splendidly enlarged in the Middle Ages. In 814, Charlemagne was buried here.
  • The cathedral uses two distinct architectural styles, with small portions of a third, First, the core of the cathedral is the Carolingian-Romanesque Palatine Chapel, which was modeled after San Vitale at Ravenna and is notably small in comparison to the later additions. Secondly, the choir was constructed in the Gothic style. Finally, there are portions that show Ottonian style, such as the area around the throne.
  • The octagon in the centre of the Cathedral was erected as the chapel of the Palace of Aachen between 796 and 805 on the model of other contemporary Byzantine buildings.
  • The Palatine chapel consisted of a high octagonal room with a two story circuit below. The inner octagon, with a diameter of 14.46 metres (47.4 ft) is made up of strong piers, on which an octagonal cloister vault lies, covering the central room. Around this inner octagon is a sixteen sided circuit of low groin vaults, supporting a high gallery above. This upper story was known as the Hochmünster (high church).
  • The upper gallery openings are divided by a grid of columns. These columns are ancient and come from St. Gereon in Cologne. Charlemagne allowed further spolia to be brought to Aachen from Rome and Ravenna at the end of the 8th century.
  • Aachen Cathedral was plastered red in the time of harlemagne, according to the most recent findings of the Rheinish Office for Monuments. This plaster was made longer-lasting through
    the addition of crushed red brick. The colour was probably also a reference to the imperial associations of the work.

Best Time to Visit

Summer is the best time to visit Germany, Spring and autumn are also good options, particularly the months of May and September when there is little rainfall and the temperatures are agreeable.

About Germany

Germany is a Western European country with a landscape of forests, rivers, mountain ranges and North Sea beaches. It has over 2 millennia of history. Berlin, its capital, is home to art and nightlife scenes, the Brandenburg Gate and many sites relating to WWII. Munich is known for its Oktoberfest and beer halls, including the 16th-century Hofbräuhaus. Frankfurt, with its skyscrapers, houses the European Central Bank.

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