Aachen Cathedral, also called Aachener Dom, is a Roman Catholic church in Aachen, Germany, and the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Aachen. It is one of the oldest churches in Europe. Emperor Charlemagne had it built, and he was buried there in 814. From 936 to 1531, the Palatine Chapel hosted the coronations of thirty-one German kings and twelve queens. Since 1930, the church has been the main church for the Diocese of Aachen.
Aachen Cathedral, includes:
In 1978, Aachen Cathedral was one of the first 12 places to be put on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. This was because it was an important part of the history of the Holy Roman Empire and had beautiful art and buildings. Charlemagne began building the Palatine Chapel and other parts of the palace around the year 796. Odo of Metz is known to have built it. It’s not clear when it was finished, but a letter from Alcuin in 798 says it was almost done, and Pope Leo III blessed the finished chapel in 805 AD.
Near the end of the 8th century, a foundry was brought to Aachen. It was used to make metal doors, railings, and statues of a horse and a bear. The metal pine cone that still decorates the chapel may have been made at this foundry or brought from Rome. In the year 814, Charlemagne was buried in the church. A Viking raid in 881 did a lot of damage to it, and it wasn’t fixed until 983. In 1165, when Antipope Paschal III made Charlemagne a saint, visitors started coming to the chapel.
Due to the huge number of visitors, a Gothic choir hall was added in 1355, and on the 600th anniversary of Charlemagne’s death, a two-part glass chapel was dedicated. In later years, a cupola, several other churches, and a steeple were also built. When the baroque stucco was taken off in 1881, it was fixed up again. During World War II, Allied bombing and artillery fire did a lot of damage to Aachen and its famous cathedral.
However, the cathedral’s main structure held up. During the war, many of the cathedral’s art pieces were moved to safe storage, and those that couldn’t be moved were kept safe inside the church. But the windows in the 14th-century choir hall, the Neo-Gothic altar, a big part of the cloister, and the Heiligtumskapelle (Holiness Chapel) were destroyed in a way that could not be fixed. Rebuilding and fixing things up took place on and off for more than 30 years and cost about €40 million.
Coronation church for German kings: Charlemagne told his son Louis the Pious that he should crown himself king in the church. Between 936, when Otto I was crowned, and 1531, when Charles V was crowned, 30 of the 40 German kings were crowned in the church. The coronation took place at the High Altar, and then Charlemagne put him on the Aachen Throne, which you can still see today. During this time, it is also interesting to note that all German kings, whether they were crowned in Aachen or not, sat on Charlemagne’s throne.
The Aachen pilgrimage, also called the “Aachener Heiligtumsfahrt,” dates back to 1238. During the pilgrimage, believers can see the four most important religious relics in the church. Since 1349, these historical items have been shown every seven years. With the slogan “Geh in das Land, das ich dir zeigen werde,” the most recent pilgrimage took place in 2014. According to the Bible, it was Abram’s call.
The Lord told Abram to leave his country, his people, and his father’s family and go to the place he would show him. (niv:Genesis 12:1) As early as the Middle Ages, churches like Essen Minster, the Old Tower in Mettlach, and the Alsatian Abbey Church of Ottmarsheim tried to copy Aachen Cathedral. In 2007, the octagon and choir were both named historic landmarks of German civil engineering.