Cities & Culture

Aachen: City of Europe with a landmark cathedral

Aachen: View of the city with the Cathedral ©DZT (Francesco Carovillano)

Aachen lives and breathes Europe. You could say it's Europe in miniature: situated squarely in the centre of a tri-border region, it has encapsulated the continent's roots, values and ideals in a variety of ways since the days of Charlemagne.

Aachen Cathedral is both a local landmark and a monument to Europe's illustrious past. Built in around 800 AD, it was the first cathedral in northern Europe. Across a period spanning centuries, it served as the church of coronation for nearly every German king. Its treasury houses one of the most significant collections of church treasures north of the Alps. So it's no wonder both the cathedral and its treasury are among the highlights on the sightseeing route that winds through Aachen and takes in a series of spectacular buildings. Each stop along the way focuses on a different topic: history, science, Europe, religion, power, business and media. The lack of an equestrian-themed stop is somewhat of an oversight, though, as the annual Concours Hippique International Officiel (CHIO) in Aachen is one of the world's leading equestrian tournaments.

Visitors to the city are blown away by its relaxed atmosphere, best experienced on a stroll through the historical streets. There's a charming contrast between the grand old buildings and the open-minded attitude and exuberant buzz created by 45,000 students hailing from all corners of the globe. Also not to be missed are the modern works on display at the Ludwig Forum for International Art. See the European idea flourish whatever you do and wherever you go in Aachen.

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