Cathedral of Aachen
The Cathedral of Aachen is one of the most famous examples of occidental architecture. It is the coronation church of more than 30 German kings, burial site of Charlemagne, major pilgrimage church and cathedral church of the Aachen diocese since 1930. In 1978 it was the first German building to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.
When the Emperor Charlemagne built his representative “Pfalz”, the Palace, before 800, he started to make his dream of Aachen as a “new Rome” come true. The centrepiece of the Palace complex is its church, which was designed as an octagon according to the example of Byzan-tine palace churches. The height of its interior of more than 31 meters is a unique architectural achievement. Until the High Romanic period nobody managed to exceed this bold construction.
The Palace Chapel became the burial place of Charlemagne. From 936 onwards the Chapel has been used as the coronation place for the Ger-man kings for the following 600 years.
In 1002 the Emperor Otto III was also buried in Charlemagne’s Chapel. Since the Gothic period every seven years large numbers of pilgrims have come to Aachen for the occasion of the “Heiligtumsfahrt” (Holy Pil-grimage), in order to pay reverence to the four sacred relics.
From 1355 to 1414 the Gothic Choir Hall was built and added to Charle-magne’s construction. It was also called the “Glass House” of Aachen be-cause of its huge glass windows. The Glass House forms the luminous shell for Charlemagne’s Shrine. Charlemagne had been canonised and his mortal remains have been contained in the Shrine.
During the 15th century most of the chapels that surround the central building were built. The Western Tower was another addition that was built during the late 19th century. For the first time under Napoleon’s rule Aa-chen becomes an Episcopal town. In modern times it has its own bishop since 1930.
Because it is the location of Charlemagne’s grave, the coronation place of the German kings and the destination of the Holy Pilgrimage, the Aachener “Marienkirche” (St Mary’s Church) has been appreciated and revered for many centuries. This clearly shows when you look at the large number of exhibits. The Cathedral Treasury is a unique witness of the venerable history of Charlemagne’s Palace Chapel. As ecclesiastical treasure the Cathedral Treasure has no equal apart from the Italian relics.
Cathedral of Aachen
daily 7.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m.
January - March: daily 7.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.
No visits during the services, e.g. no tours before 11.00 a.m.,
on sunday before 1.00 p.m.
Services are held at the following times:
Mon – Fri: 7.00 a.m., 10.00 a.m.
Sat: 7.00 a.m., 8.00 a.m., 10.00 a.m.
Sun: 7.00 a.m., 8.00 a.m., 10.00 a.m. (High Mass, Aachen Cathedral Choir), 11.30 a.m.
To book a tour for groups please call
tel.: +49 241 47709-127
fax: +49 241 47709-150
Guided tours of the Cathedral for groups
Guided tours for individuals:
Mon – Fri: 11.00, 12.00, 13.00, 14.30, 15.30 and 16.30 h
Sat – Sun: 13.00, 14.00, 15.00 and 16.00 h
additionally in summer:
Mon – Fri: 17.30 h
Sat – Sun: 17.00 h
Language: German, in addition: English, daily at 14.00 h
Cathedral Information, opposite the Cathedral Treasury
Duration: approx. 45 minutes
tel.: +49 241 47709-145