ARCHITECT, German
(active 790s in Aachen)

Interior view

796-98
Photo
Palatine Chapel, Aachen

Since 796 Charlemagne had been building his Palatine Chapel. Supervised by the Frankish master builder, Odo of Metz, the prestigious building project brought in craftsmen from all over the Empire. In 798, just before the coronation of the Emperor, the shell of the building was completed, and in 805 the chapel was consecrated by Pope Leo III. The central structure stood as part of four connecting building complexes on the southern side of the Imperial Palace.

The main space of the chapel describes a regular octagon, around which is laid a sixteen-sided ambulatory with galleries. The interior of the octagon, crowned by a cloister vault of eight sections, appears astonishingly steep. Eight massive structural piers, angled in on themselves to form the corners of the octagon, define the perimeter of the central space.

The classical Corinthian columns were brought from Ravenna to Aachen on the instructions of Charlemagne himself. The San Vitale in Ravenna, built in the sixth century, is one of the possible prototypes for the Aachen Palatine Chapel.

The room fittings are from the nineteenth century.

View the ground plan of the Palatine Chapel.




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