The elaborate cathedral in Aachen was the first German monument to be added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list, in 1978. Whilst trying to build his own version of Rome, it was Emperor Charlemagne who, around the year 800, constructed the original core of the building in the form of an octagonal chapel known as St Mary’s Church. This later become his burial place and is where his remains can still be found today.
The chapel was the tallest building in the country for a long time and has been added to over the years to create the cathedral that you see today. The Gothic choir hall was installed during the 14th century, whilst more chapels were added to the north and west sides a century later. Building work continued throughout the 18th and 19th centuries too, with the Hungarian Chapel and Western Tower being added respectively.
Due to its significance to the Christian faith and the fact that it was the setting for the coronation of Roman-German kings between 936 and 1531, it remains a place of pilgrimage. People come to see the cloth relics – said to be baby Jesus’s diaper, John the Baptist’s decapitation cloth and Christ’s loincloth – as well as the Cross of Lothair, which lies in the treasury.