EL Aachen Cathedral© Hendrik Reinhold
Building History and Conservation
The Aachen Cathedral was the first building in Germany to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A distinction that demonstrates the exceptional historical and architectural status of this structure and simultaneously obligates very sensitive handling of its substance.
The Aachen Cathedral is a conglomerate of Carolingian, gothic, baroque and historicistic components that testify of the diverse stages of meaning and purpose this sacral building has experienced. For the establishment of Charlemagne an extraordinary church, for the time in the context of a palatial estate, was built and in 814 AD it became the burial place of the first Western Roman Emperor of the Middle Ages. In keeping with the dynastic succession of the rulers, the Aachen Muenster was used from the 10th to the 16th century as the coronation site of the Roman kings, who became successors of Charlemagne in accordance with the Aachen Coronation Act. Since its foundation, the Aachen Muenster has been endowed with numerous precious relics and from the middle of the 14th century it had become one of the most important places of pilgrimage north of the Alps. The most recent change of purpose the building experienced was the founding of the Aachen Diocese in 1930 and the resulting elevation of the cathedral’s status.
Since the middle of the 19th century the Aachen Cathedral has been the focus of the state’s heritage conservation program which resulted in significant revisions and additions up until 1914. This affected both its external and interior appearance. Since the 1950s, in the spirit of contemporary heritage conservation regulations, preservation rather than reconstruction has been the priority.
M.Sc. Architecture, all semesters
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