Redecorating the Dom

Like the stereotypical suburban housewives who never know when to leave well enough alone, the caretakers of the Dom have been on a centuries-long remodelling binge. The result is that very little of what you see dates from Charlemagne’s time. For instance, the interior of the main part of the church was redone for the umpteenth time in the 19th century, when vast amounts of Byzantine gilt and stained glass were introduced. At that time, churches across Europe thought to be as old as the Dom were scoured for design ideas, which explains why you can see echoes of Istanbul's Hagia Sophia in the Aachen Dom.

The inside of the dome overhead dates from the 17th century – and on it goes. Other than possibly the hidden relics and Charlemagne’s bones, the oldest authenticated item in the Dom is the 12th-century chandelier, which was a gift from Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa.

Culture Deals

Museum hounds can save a bundle by picking up the Six for Six museum pass, which is good for one-time admission to the Centre Charlemagne, the Ludwig Forum, the Suermondt Ludwig Museum, the Couven Museum and the Internationales Zeitungsmuseum as well as the Rathaus. Available at any of these sites, it costs €14 (concession €10) and is good for six months.

Consider yourself double-lucky if you're 21 or under: in that case, admission is completely free.