Aachen – The old coronation city of the emperors
According to mathgeneral, the city in the border triangle of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands was the coronation city of the German kings (936 – 1531) for almost 600 years.
The first king to be crowned here was Otto I – the Great (912-973). He was anointed and crowned King of East Franconia on August 7, 936. Incidentally, he was made emperor on February 2, 962 by Pope John XII. crowned in Rome. It is also a European city and a renowned bathing and health resort.
The name “Aachen”, which corresponds to the Germanic word “Ahha” (pronounced “Acha”) and means something like “water”, already shows how much the city was able to benefit from its springs with sulphurous water.
“What the fire destroyed, the water builds up again.”
This proverb from the 17th century, which arose in the time after the devastating city fire of 1656, refers on the one hand to the tremendous destruction caused by the fire, but also fatalistically points to the renewal process that the city was carried out by the spa doctor Franciscus Blondel (1613 – 1703) was allowed to live through this. In the 17th century, Aachen developed into one of the most modern European seaside resorts and established the continuation of its grandiose reputation. This reputation was followed by all kinds of celebrities from politics and art.
Napoléon Bonaparte (1767 – 1821) visited Aachen’s famous thermal springs, even acted as a kind of protégé of the city and even had his son baptized here in 1811. In addition, the Russian Tsar Peter I the Great (1672-1725) or the Prussian King Friedrich II the Great (1712-1786) insisted on tasting Aachen’s virtues.
Aachen is the westernmost city in the Federal Republic of Germany. Its historical beginnings go back to the Neolithic Age, when flint was still being traded in the area around what is now the North Rhine-Westphalian city. Later came the Romans:
Because of the sulfur-containing springs in the region, they converted their settlement into a military bath and equipped it with thermal facilities. However, it was Charles I (748-814) “the great” who was to remain historically connected to Aachen like no other. His name has remained in the consciousness of the city of Aachen over the centuries, and has been merged with it.
The famous Carolingian, who became King of the Franks in 768 and was reunited by Pope Leo III in 800. (around 750-816) was crowned Roman Emperor in Rome, his grave is here in Aachen. His bones can still be visited today in Aachen Cathedral, in the forecourt of the Palatine Chapel. Aachen, which was endowed with a splendid palace and a palace chapel by Karl in 789, actually functioned as his residence city, because it was here that he spent most of his last 20 years.
Referring to this great emperor, Aachen also and above all through Otto I (the Great) (912-973) became a decisive place in the exercise of medieval power. With his coronation in Aachen in 936, Otto established a tradition that lasted 600 years, according to which all coronations as German king were carried out there until 1531. Ferdinand I (1503-1564) was the last king to experience this privilege. After his election by the elector in Cologne in 1531, his coronation and anointing took place in the same year in Aachen by Archbishop Hermann V von Wied.
In this regard, of course, Aachen’s greatest attraction must be pointed out. We are talking about Aachen Cathedral, completed in 800 and since then the undisputed landmark of the city of Aachen. The cathedral, which was actually built as a palatine chapel for Karl, is the most important point of attraction the city offers because of its history and the connection with the great emperor. In addition to its immense importance, the sacred building also impresses with its impressive architecture and rich interior design.
Today’s Aachen, located in the triangle between Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, is a cheerful and pulsating city that spreads out picturesquely in the Eifel region in the immediate catchment area of the rivers Maas, Rur (not to be confused with the Ruhr) and Wurm. Magnificent medieval buildings, baroque and rococo architecture, wonderful parks and a colorful landscape of museums and concerts make the city a pleasant place that knows how to present itself in the present, far from the “dust of history”. Aachen offers festivities and events all year round. However, one always has to wait seven years for one of the most interesting – the journey to the shrine of Mary. Behind the altar of the Marian shrine of the Aachen cathedral from 1239 lie the four Aachen sanctuaries: the alleged diaper and loincloth of Jesus Christ as well as the decapitation cloth of John the Baptist and the robe of Mary. They are shown to pilgrims from all over the world every seven years. Since this event took place for the last time in 2007, from June 1st to June 10th, the major religious event for 2014 should be marked in your calendar now. In addition, the Aachen Peace Prize and the Charlemagne Prize are awarded in the city, the carnival is celebrated and musical tolerance is honored as part of a cultural summer.
If you take all these characteristics together, you will certainly quickly understand why Aachen is a true European city – after all, it has important connections within European history. Be it in its centuries-long function as the coronation city of the German kings, be it again with the reference to Charlemagne (and above all to his imperial palace) or be it through the Aachen Charlemagne Prize – no one will be the historical and also modern, can underestimate the current importance of this city!