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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

June 21, 2007

UCG film team visits Charlemagne’s capital

Filed under UCG-Germany

Today the UCG film crew visited the city of Aachen, which was once Charlemagne’s capital.

The first item on the day’s itinerary was the flight Paul Kieffer, Clay Thornton and Peter Eddington in front of Aachen cathedral entrance from Berlin to the Cologne-Bonn airport. From there Jesmina Allaoua drove Peter Eddington and Clay Thornton to the small town of Niederkassel, on the eastern side of the Rhine river just across from the city of Bonn. The UCG-Germany office is located in Mondorf, a part of Niederkassel. Peter and Clay checked in at their hotel and then visited the office, and in the afternoon I joined them for the 45 minute drive to Aachen. The main item of interest there was the Aachen cathedral, which was built by Charlemagne and for two centuries was the tallest cathedral north of the Alps. The center portion of the cathedral was built by Charlemagne, and the other sections were added later. It was here that Charlemagne was crowned emperor by the pope on Christmas day in 800 A.D.

His empire extended from the westernmost part of today’s Germany to the west, Peter Eddington at Charlemagne's coronation throne encompassing a large portion of the rest of western continental Europe. Since he is thought to have been born near Lüttich in today’s Belgium (about 45 minutes west of Aachen by car), some Belgiums claim him as Belgium. So do some French and Germans. But, as our tour guide emphasized, Karl der Große ["Charlemagne"] may have been the first real European. The throne thought to be his very coronation throne is on display in the Aachen cathedral, and with our tour guide we were able to videotape the throne in an area of the cathedral that is normally not open to regular individual visitors. With our press passes, we also had special permission to film from the upper section of the cathedral that is only opened for the news media. Napoleon is said to have had such respect for this throne that he refused to sit on it when he visited Aachen.

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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