Permanent Exhibition

The Carolingian Palace

Charlemagne has St Mary’s Church (today’s Cathedral) built. This fresco completed by Alfred Rethel and Josef Kehren in 1858/60 was once located at Aachen town hall but was destroyed in WWII.


History of Aachen – Charlemagne’s City

At the permanent exhibition, visitors learn about the most important people, events and stories in Aachen’s history.

This includes a section on Early Settlements (5th century BCE to 7th century CE), which in particular looks at Roman Aachen. The ‘Charlemagne’s Palace and St Mary’s Church’ (8th – 9th century) and the ‘City of Coronations’ (10th – 16th century) sections offer glimpses back to the Middle Ages. The ‘Baroque Spa City’ (17th – 18th century) and the ‘Dawn of the Modern City’ (19th century) sections show how Aachen was both an emerging industrial city as well as a fashionable spa resort where the noble and famous sought amusement. The ‘From Frontline Town to Modern European City’ (20th – 21th century) section traces Aachen’s history during and after the great wars of the 20th century and shows how the city has evolved to become a place of European reconciliation and progress, where each year the Charlemagne Prize is awarded to outstanding Europeans.

The heart of Aachen’s history

And ever-present: Charlemagne, the central figure in whom the history of Aachen and the history of Europe converge. One of the items on display is the original bronze statue. Most visitors will know the copy of this statue located at the Market Fountain. Over 20 interactive media stations guide visitors through the exhibition and the individual sections.

The very last media station, ‘Aachen today’ (Aachen heute) explores how Aachen residents see their city today, showing Aachen as a lively and diverse European city.


The Centre Charlemagne in 100 seconds: