The German city of Aachen is twinned with Halifax – see the Halifax-Aachen Society.
Close to the Belgian and Dutch borders, the city is also known by its French name, Aix-la-Chapelle.
Aachen was founded 1200 years ago by Charlemagne as the seat of Government of the Franconian Empire. Charlemagne was buried in the Cathedral of Aachen. For a time, this was the centre of the western world and 33 German kings were subsequently crowned there.
800 years before Charlemagne, the Romans built baths at the thermal springs in the area.
Modern Aachen is a university city and attracts students from all over the world.
Besides its link with Halifax, Aachen is also twinned with Reims in France, Toledo in Spain, Ningbo in China, Arlington in the USA.
Aachen is famous for Aachener Printen which is a kind of gingerbread, as well as for needle-making, the annual International Horse Show and the Charlemagne Peace Prize.
In 1978, the Cathedral in Aachen became the first German building to be put on the UNESCO list of the World's Cultural Heritage. The central feature of the cathedral is the eight cornered dome, the Octagon, built by Charlemagne to house valuable relics sent from Constantinople and Jerusalem.
A walk round Aachen is a journey through different centuries – medieval fortifications, Gothic Churches, Baroque town houses, delightful fountains
See Percival Whitley
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