Keukenhof Gardens
Romantic Rhine
Altes Land
Rhein in Flammen
Cologne Cathedral
Harz Mountains
Odds And Ends
Shelly's Sheep


Since the weather was still nice, despite the forecast for rain, we headed west to Aachen, seat of the Holy Roman Empire.  Aachen sits at the borders of Germany, Belgium, and, the Netherlands, and it is here that Charlemagne is buried.  In fact, it was Charlemagne's idea to build the Kaiserdom (cathedral of the kings) in 805, and it served as the 'coronation church' for 30 of the Holy Roman Emperors, until 1531. It is the oldest cathedral in Europe, and it has the largest dome north of the Alps.  Upon arriving in the center of Aachen, we found ourselves in the midst of another festival, with food stalls and music, in front of this amazing building crowned with various flags, statues, carvings, etc.  Russell decided he would rather listen to the music outside than explore another cathedral, so I wandered around to find the entrance.  When I reached the opposite side of the building, I looked up to avoid a collision with a skateboarder (I couldn't tell if he was aiming for me or if we were making the same evasive maneuvers) and noticed another building, covered in scaffolding, and dwarfing 'our' cathedral.  Yup, what we thought was the cathedral was not.  It turned out to be the Rathaus (Town Hall) and restaurant.  The amazing scaffolding-clad building was the Kaiserdom.  I went back to tell Russell, but he wasn't convinced.  He said he would wait if I wanted a tour, and was happily programming something.  Having already read that the tours are (1) in German, and (2) take a full hour (but let you see the white throne of Charlemagne!), I decided to wander through it own my own.  The center of the Dom is an octagon, which seems to have two or more levels (I have to assume Charlemagne's throne is up there somewhere), which is made  of dark marble pillars.  The floor and walls are also marble, but inlaid with various patterns.  The ceiling is an incredible mosaic, with different patterns being on each column and arch.  The octagon 'faces' the dome, which is surrounded by jewel-toned stained glass.  Russell did see the Dom (at least the exterior), but as it was getting late, did not have time to look around inside.  By the way, I don't feel nearly as silly as I first did in mistaking the Rathaus for the cathedral - at one time, one of the towers was part of Charlemagne's palace!

The Aachen Rathaus, with flags of the EU


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This site was last updated 05/05/04

All images on this site are copyrighted by Michelle and Russell Taylor.