Sunday, July 22, 2012

Aachen

Our third city trip lead us to Aachen. I am tempted to write "All roads lead to Aachen", and for good reason: Charlemagne ("Karl der Große" for Germans), the famous 8th century King of the Franks and leader of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation saw himself as the ambassador of Christianity, and this link to Rome is still very perceptible in the city.
After arriving at the train station, we went to the Aachen Cathedral, a building that mirrors the different architectural fashions through the centuries in its various additions to the original church (around 5 additional chapels within over 1200 years) and reflects on Aachen's importance in Europe's history. The Cathedral museum shows impressive and ancient golden artifacts, which often include relics from saints and also Charlemagne himself. And even if the authenticity of the relics may be questionable according to modern scientific standards, their religious function is not, and has been important for a very long time.
Aachen, with its many stories and legends, is a wonderful place to take a tour through European history. The wolf's gate - the entrance to the cathedral - is linked to a story of the devil helping the city of Aachen to build their cathedral, if he receives the first soul that enters the building (greedy as he was, he was hoping it would be the bishop himself). The people from Aachen, smart as they were, lead a wolf through the gate. The devil was not too pleased and - one would have expected worse! - slammed the door so hard, that his thumb remained stuck in the door, where it still is today (we checked, so you can trust the story!).
Here is a picture of the kids in front of the door...




... and here is one of some wolves in front of the wolf's gate:




Afterwards, we walked up to the Lousberg, where we met with one of the host-fathers who added other legends to the one we had already heard. From the hill, one has an excellent view of the city - which was topped by the view from the Drehturm, a tall tower on the hill which has a restaurant on a moving platform.

Finally, we chose two different museums to go to: The International Newspaper Museum and the Ludwig Forum for International Contemporary Art. While the first group found out lots of interesting facts about the world of newspaper, its past, present and future (http://www.izm.de/en/exhibitions/media-museum/) including some fascinating fake photographs, the second group clearly had fun discovering modern art (http://www.ludwigforum.de/screen/aktuell/index.html):



We had some time before the train left for Krefeld, so the students explored Aachen and its famous "Printen", a type of gingerbread typical for that region. But I am sure you will hear more details about what that tasted like from them yourself - and soon!

 

1 comment:

  1. Our strange neighbor adores cats and had them everywhere in her house. As if the dozen live cats were not enough, in every room in her house, she has framed prints, large and small, of the blessed animals.0
    She says that she orders her canvas prints, like this one
    http://en.wahooart.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8BWPVF by Franz Marc, from wahooart.com who delivers them. Perhaps they can take away a cat or two as well.

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