Charlemagne's Church at Aachen
Janet L. Nelson looks at the history of this church in the small town in the North-Rhine Westfalia region of western Germany.
Aachen today is a delightful small town in the North-Rhine-Westfalia region of western Germany. It was, and still is, much visited because of its associations with Charles the Great (Charlemagne) and the Holy Roman Empire. At Aachen, Charles’ favourite residence in the latter part of his long reign (768-814), are preserved memorials of the great man himself and of the empire he founded. Visit, and you feel the centripetal power of a myth-history which has dominated European imaginations for well over a thousand years.
It all started, according to Einhard who was a member of the court during the Aachen years, because Charles loved swimming: there were thermal springs and old Roman baths at Aachen, and Charles ‘swam whenever he could. He would invite not only his sons to bathe with him but his magnates and friends, and sometimes his retinue as well. Sometimes a hundred men or more would be in the water together’.