Category: Postcrossing - official card
Date: March 2016
Time of travelling: 11 days
Aachen Cathedral was erected on the orders of Charlemagne in AD 796 and was, on completion, in 798, the largest cathedral north of the Alps. It was modeled after the Basilica of San Vitale, in Ravenna, Italy, and was built by Odo of Metz. Charlemagne also desired for the chapel to compete with the Lateran Palace, both in quality and authority. It was originally built in the Carolingian style, including marble covered walls, and mosaic inlay on the dome. On his death, Charlemagne's remains were interred in the cathedral and can be seen there to this day. The cathedral was extended several times in later ages, turning it into a curious and unique mixture of building styles. The throne and gallery portion date from the Ottonian, with portions of the original opus sectile floor still visible. The 13th century saw gables being added to the roof, and after the fire of 1656, the dome was rebuilt. Finally, a choir was added around the start of the 15th century. After, Frederick Barbarossa canonized Charlemagne, in 1165, the chapel became a destination for pilgrims. For 600 years, from 936 to 1531, Aachen Cathedral was the church of coronation for 30 German kings and 12 queens. The church built by Charlemagne is still the main attraction of the city. In addition to holding the remains of its founder, it became the burial place of his successor Otto III. In the upper chamber of the gallery, Charlemagne's marble throne is housed. Aachen Cathedral has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.