"I Heart Aachen" Aachen by staindesign
Aachen Travel Guide: 502 reviews and 1,203 photos
When I think of Germany or Europe in general, Aachen is that vision I see in my mind. Cobble stone streets, midevil architecture, a huge cathedral, people sitting at cafe tables in the sun. Of course, the town is slightly busy, buses and traffic. I was fortunate enough to stay with a friend, one that is actually a student in Aachen. It was interesting to see the life of a student. For the most part, life as a professional could seem a bit dull in this small town. Perhaps, it is a nice place to have a family. Being the most western city in German, Aachen is bordering Belgium and the Netherlands. Also, Cologne and Düsseldorf are within an hours drive. Therefore, Aachen is in my opinion a nice hub for short travel.
I was told Aachen is one of the cities where bikes are used the most in Germany. My German tour guide wasn't sure if it is because the town is so small or if it is because of the location to the Netherlands. Although, there are quite a few cars, the amount of students walking is quite a lot. The bus system was fairly easy to use, and the buses are efficient and clean.
There are several bars and restaurants. Many are cheap, thanks again to the college crowd. As a foreigner, the freedom in the drinking department is wonderful. There isn't a public intoxication law like in the States, you can become complete drunk out of your mind and stumble the entire way home without being bothered by police. Also, the safety was amazing. Not one time, walking during the wee hours of the night did i ever feel unsafe walking through the town! Another nice benefit, each night there are bars that are open unti at least 12-1am. This was especially nice being a tourist, it could be extremely boring if the town closed up at 9pm. Although, shopping did close early approx. (6-8pm).
There is some documentary proof that the Romans named the hot sulphur springs of Aachen Aquis-Granum, and indeed to this day the city is known in Spanish as Aquisgrán. The name Granus has lately been identified as that of a Celtic deity.
In French-speaking areas of the former Empire the word aquis evolved into the modern Aix.
After Roman times, Einhard mentions that in 765–6 Pippin the Younger spent both Christmas and Easter at Aquis villa ("Et celebravit natalem Domini in Aquis villa et pascha similiter."), which must have been sufficiently equipped to support the royal household for several months. In the year of his coronation as King of Franks, 768, Charlemagne came to spend Christmas at Aachen for the first time. He went on to remain there in a mansion which he may have extended, although there is no source attesting any significant building activity at Aachen in his time apart from the building of the Palatine Chapel in Aachen (since 1929, cathedral) and the palatial presentation halls. Charlemagne spent most winters between 792 and his death in 814 in Aachen, which became the focus of his court and the political center of his empire. After his death, the king was buried in the church which he had built; his original tomb has been lost, while his alleged remains are preserved in the shrine where he was reburied after being declared a saint; his saintliness, however, was never very widely acknowledged outside the bishopric of Liège where he may still be venerated "by tradition".
In 936, Otto I was crowned king of the kingdom in the collegiate church built by Charlemagne. Over the next 500 years, most kings of Germany destined to reign over the Holy Roman Empire were crowned "King of the Germans" in Aachen. The last king to be crowned here was Ferdinand I in 1531. During the Middle Ages, Aachen remained a city of regional importance, due to its proximity to Flanders, achieving a modest position in the trade in woollen cloths, favoured by imperial privilege. The city remained a Free Imperial City, subject to the Emperor only, but was politically far too weak to influence the policies of any of its neighbors. The only dominion it held was that over the neighboring tiny territory of Burtscheid, which was ruled by a Benedictine abbess and forced to accept that all of its traffic must pass through the "Aachener Reich". Even in the late 18th century, the Abbess of Burtscheid was prevented from building a road linking her territory to the neighbouring estates of the duke of Jülich; the city of Aachen even deployed its handful of soldiers to chase away the road-diggers.
From the early 16th century, Aachen declined in importance. In 1656, a great fire devastated Aachen. It still remained a place of historical myth and became newly attractive as a spa by the middle of the 17th century, not so much because of the effects of its hot springs on the health of its visitors but since Aachen was then — and remained well into the 19th century — one of the centres of high-level prostitution in Europe. Traces of this hidden agenda of the city's history can be found in the 18th century guidebooks to Aachen as well as to other spas; the main indication for visiting patients, ironically, was syphilis; only by the end of the 19th century had rheuma become the most important object of cures at Aachen and Burtscheid. This explains why Aachen was chosen as site of several important congresses and peace treaties: the first congress of Aachen (often referred to as Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle in English) in 1668, leading to the First Treaty of Aachen in the same year which ended the War of Devolution. The second congress ended with the second treaty in 1748, finishing the War of the Austrian Succession. The third congress took place in 1818 to decide the fate of occupied Napoleonic France.
By the middle of the 18th century, industrialization had swept away most of the city's medieval rules of production and commerce, although the entirely corrupt remains of the city's mediæval constitution were kept in place (compare the famous remarks of Georg Forster in his Ansichten vom Niederrhein) until 1801, when Aachen became the "chef-lieu du département de la Roer" in Napoléon's First French Empire. In 1815 after the Napoleonic Wars, the Kingdom of Prussia took over and the city became one of its most socially and politically backward centres until the end of the 19th century. Administered within the Rhine Province, by 1880 the population was 80,000. Starting in 1840, the railway from Cologne to Belgium passed through Aachen. The city suffered extreme overcrowding and deplorable sanitary conditions up to 1875 when the mediæval fortifications were finally abandoned as a limit to building operations and new, less miserable quarters were built towards the eastern part of the city where drainage of waste liquids was easiest. In the 19th century and up to the 1930s, the city was important for the production of railway locomotives and carriages, iron, pins, needles, buttons, tobacco, woollen goods, and silk goods.
Aachen was destroyed partially — and in some parts completely — during World War II, mostly by bombing by American artillery fire and through deliberate destruction wrought by the Waffen SS division employed to keep Aachen out of allied hands as long as possible. Damaged buildings include the mediæval churches of St. Foillan, St. Paul and St. Nicholas, as well as the Rathaus (city hall), although the Aachen Cathedral was largely unscathed. The city was taken by the Allies with only 4000 inhabitants who had disobeyed Nazi evacuation orders, on October 21 1944, the first German city to be captured. Its first Allied-appointed mayor, Franz Oppenhoff, was murdered by an SS commando unit.
While the kings' palace no longer exists, 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. The cathedral of Aachen has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
(thank you very much wikipedia, sorry i'm not much into writing about history, I sure love to read it!)
- Pros:Old Architecture, Cool People, Great Walks
- Cons:The streets swirl around the city, hard to know where you are and too much rain!
- In a nutshell:It really does rain 300 days a year in Aachen!
Most likely you will be visiting Aachen as a day trip. But incase you are staying a few days, both the Netherlands and... more travel advice
Townhall is probably one of the biggest buildings I have ever seen! It is so large it is hard to get the whole building... more travel advice
staindesign's Related Pages
Aachen Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "City of Kings and Thermal Baths"
- "Karnival and Charlemagnia"
- "Singing in the reign . . ."
- "Aachen - City of Coronations and Cakes!"
- "Aachen - City of Charlemagne"
- "The city of Aachen"
- See All...
- Things to Do in Aachen
- Hotels in Aachen
- Transportation in Aachen
- Nightlife in Aachen
- Restaurants in Aachen
- Shopping in Aachen
- Warnings and Dangers in Aachen
- See All...
Explore the World
Badges & Stats in Aachen
- 15 Reviews
- 7 Photos
- 0 Forum posts
- 5 Comments
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (6)
Have you been to Aachen?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Aachen
Top 10 Pages
- Top 5 Page for this destination Indianapolis Intro, 53 reviews, 76 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Puerto Rico Intro, 24 reviews, 37 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Mammoth Cave National Park Intro, 28 reviews, 32 photos
- Lima Intro, 15 reviews, 28 photos
- Chicago Intro, 12 reviews, 23 photos
- Nazca Intro, 10 reviews, 18 photos, 1 travelogue
- San Francisco Intro, 8 reviews, 15 photos
- Aachen Intro, 15 reviews, 7 photos
- Baltimore Intro, 8 reviews, 10 photos
- Miami Beach Intro, 4 reviews, 13 photos
FriendsSee All Friends (23)
Latest Aachen hotel reviews
- Sofitel Aachen Quellenhof
- 162 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Dec 9, 2013
- City Apartments Regence
- 4 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Aug 17, 2013
- Hotel Marx
- 23 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Nov 11, 2013
- Ibis Aachen Normaluhr
- 88 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Dec 1, 2013
- Mercure Hotel Aachen Am Graben
- 95 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Dec 9, 2013
- Hotel Hesse
- 3 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Mar 7, 2013
- Art Hotel Superior
- 40 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Nov 15, 2013
- Hotel Drei Konige
- 6 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Nov 9, 2013
- Hotel Brulls am Dom
- 12 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Dec 1, 2012
- Novotel Aachen City
- 128 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Nov 9, 2013
- Holiday Inn Aachen
- 52 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Dec 2, 2013
- Ibis Aachen Marschiertor
- 94 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Nov 24, 2013
- Mercure Aachen City
- 101 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Dec 14, 2013