Construction of Aachen Cathedral began in 796AD and was inspired by the churches in the Eastern part of the Holy Roman Empire. When you go inside, you can see the influence yourself. The octagonal core with an emphasis on height, rather than length, reminds me more of churches I’ve seen in Greece or Serbia than France or Italy.
For almost 600 years, from 936 to 1531, Aachen Cathedral was used as the church of coronation. 30 German kings and 12 queens were crowned here. However, there is one ruler that dominates the story of Aachen – Charlemagne.
Charlemagne – the emperor who united much of Western Europe and built the foundations for Germany and France – constructed Aachen Cathedral as his own palace chapel. He wanted it to be extravagant enough for both a man of his stature but also for the city he had chosen as his imperial capital.