Karl entdeckt die heißen Schwefelquellen Aachens, Relief 19. Jahrhundert, Aachen

Charlemagne treasured Aachen's thermal waters

Charlemagne did not rule from a single capital city but from numerous palaces, cities and bases. Nevertheless, he spent many years of his life in Aachen. This was because of the hot springs, whose warming and healing powers Charlemagne greatly appreciated. His palace in Aachen included a part of the Roman thermae and had its own thermal baths. Here, Charlemagne bathed and swam together with his family, with guests and with his bodyguards.

The hot springs did much to soothe Charlemagne's ailments. In the last four years of this life he suffered from fever and was in great pain. During this period, he only left Aachen to go hunting.

The relief shown here, dating from the late 19th century, picks up on a legend according to which Charlemagne, while out riding, rediscovered the thermal springs of Aachen. It comes from the façade of the "Queen of Hungary's Baths" in Aachen's Buchkremerstraße.

Relief, 19th century

Charlemagne the Bather

"Charles enjoyed the exhalations from natural warm springs, and often practised swimming, in which he was such an adept that none could surpass him; and hence it was that he built his palace at Aix-la-Chapelle, and lived there constantly during his later years until his death."

(from Einhard, The Life of Charlemagne, written circa 840)

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