At the end of the eight century, at the place which was later to become Aachen, Charlemagne built his palatinate, a word that is derived from the Latin palatium, from which the modern words palace, palais, paleis or palacio are derived from. A palatinate is a residence where kings and other sovereigns could stay for a while and hold court hearings, collect taxes and discussing policy.
They never had a permanent residence, but were constantly on the move and the palatinates were the bases of living, administration and court. Aachen became the favourite palatinate of Charlemagne.
Charlemagne organized a building programme, a royal hall (disappeared) and a royal chapel, which survived, later becoming the cathedral. The royal chapel is right at the heart of the Aachen Cathedral today.
Charlemagne built a chapel of the highest quality and imperial ambitions. It depicts God’s rule by the earthly hand of the emperor. The chapel was built as an image in anticipation of heavenly Jerusalem. God’s reign has received a newly visible mortal guarantor and representative.
Charlemagne’s throne is the upper area of the rulers church and it symbolizes the earthly throne by mandate of divine destiny. The throne is simple in style, ornament and construction, but its message was powerful.
After more than 1200 years, the throne can still be seen. His ill fated political unifaction of vast territories was a daring experiment, like the present European Union is a new political venture.
Whether the recently appointed European president gets a similar symbol of power and eternal throne remains to be seen. (Source: A. Carl, Aachen and its Cathedral (Aachen 2005).