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Aachen, Germany, historic center and cathedral

Dennis Callan nimmt Euch mit auf eine Tour rund um den Aachener Dom.

In seinen Worten:

“We are taking you on a trip to Aachen, Germany’s westernmost city, right next to the Netherlands and Belgium. It is a typical place but famous for one very special building, the cathedral.

Aachen is a city with a very ancient cathedral, and most famous as the home of Charlemagne. …

Charlemagne, was the Holy Roman Emperor who came here in the year 768. Charlemagne spent most of his final years in Aachen and he ordered the cathedral to be constructed, and it still stands today, as you will see while we explore that magnificent building, which is one of the most important architectural landmarks in Europe.

Two other main sites are City Hall and the market square. Everything is quite close together here in the pedestrian center of the old town. In a few minutes we will show you these charming lanes with the outdoor restaurants and locals taking a stroll.

We will have a look at the market square with its colorful produce and inexpensive eating – less than five euros for a casual standup bratwurst and fries.

Next to that we will bring you inside the City Hall. Aachen’s other remaining historic building dates to the early 14th century.

Take a lunch break in the park and enjoy the historic old buildings.

The pedestrian zone is rather small, just 400 meters across, with the Dom, or cathedral at the center, as usual in a medieval town plan.

The cathedral was built in two different architectural styles in two different time periods, early ninth-century Byzantine, that’s 1200 years ago, and then later Middle Ages, the gothic extension of the choir with the stained glass windows around it. The surface area of the stained glass is more than 1000 square meters, based on the model of Sant’ Chapelle in Paris. From the outside you can see the gothic features of the pointed arches and the buttresses holding up the walls. It’s one of the oldest cathedrals in Europe.

The original part is the octagonal chapel in the middle called the Palatine Chapel with eight large columns holding it up, and beyond, there are some smaller chapels around it. That early Byzantine architectural style was influenced by churches in Ravenna and Constantinople. It was huge for its day.

The width and height of the chapel were the largest ever built north of the Alps until the Middle Ages, when the large gothic cathedrals were constructed. Not only is the cathedral a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it was in the very first list ever published. The first 12 sites were declared in 1978 with this cathedral among them. Now there are over a thousand UNESCO World Heritage Sites. So that’s another indication of the extreme cultural and historic importance of the dome.

As usual with such an extraordinarily beautiful and complicated structure, you have to see it in person. Its pictures just do not do it full justice. You’ll get some idea from looking at the images but being inside this building is an otherworldly experience. You will be an enraptured and awestruck in looking around at the dazzling beauties of this amazing structure. The best way to appreciate such a complicated space is walk to various locations so that you can gain perspective on the different angles, and then you may sit down in peace and just absorb the quiet beauty of this wonderful space.

Aachen and the Cathedral were so important to the Emperor Charlemagne that he is buried here in this golden coffin in a place of honor in the choir, with the vaulting Gothic arches and stained-glass windows all around him.

The building stands in the middle of the pedestrian zone, so all of a sudden outdoors is quite lively with people walking and they’re shops and restaurants. So let’s go take a look. You’ve seen how Aachen is worth visiting just because of that one building, the magnificent cathedral, but now you’ll see that the town itself, especially here in the historic center in the pedestrian zone, is really a most enjoyable place to spend some time.

As we’ve seen already, this central zone is not huge. It’s about 400 meters across, so, really quite easy to wander around. You might spend a couple hours here, have a meal, do a little shopping and just relax. No cars allowed in this peaceful neighborhood, but you’ve got the bicycles and some bikers appear able to carry large cargo on their bike.

The large historic building next to the marketplace is the Rathaus, or City Hall, with 50 statues of kings of Germany on its façade. The building was constructed between 1330 and 1380, open to the public with a small admission fee as a museum. Most impressive is the Coronation Hall, or Kaisersaal, where banquets were held after crowning a king. It’s 45 meters long, spanning the entire length of the building. Naturally this Town Hall has gone through some renovations and reconstructions during its 650 year history. It was severely damage in World War II, but you’d never know it with the way it looks today. http://tourvideos.com/   “

 

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