Katschhof Aachen Südansicht zum Dom (c) Jörg Hempel, Aachen

The Katschhof was the inner courtyard of Charlemagne's palace in Aachen

At the north end rose the King's Hall, where the Town Hall stands today. At the south end was St Mary's Church, today's Cathedral. Between these two buildings ran a colonnade which bordered the courtyard to the west. On the east side, the Katschhof merged with the site of the Roman thermal baths, where Charlemagne's own spa was located. It is assumed that Charlemagne's private quarters were situated somewhere on the Katschhof.

The pillory derived the Katschhof its name

In later centuries the Katschhof was bordered on all sides, even on the Town Hall and the Cathedral sides, by small dwellings. To the west stood the "Acht", the Court of Lay Assessors. Many judgements were executed in a pillory commonly referred to as the "Kaks", from which the Katschhof derived its name. Between the "Acht" and the Town Hall, from the 12th century on, stood a cloth hall. This was an important place in the city's economic life, for the production of textiles was a prosperous sector of industry. In the 18th century, the city architect Johann Joseph Couven converted the cloth hall into a comic theatre.

A century later, plans matured for the modernisation of the Town Hall and the replacement of the comic theatre with a new administrative wing. This magnificent edifice, built by the architect Friedrich Pützer, harked back to Renaissance styles. It was completed in 1903 and destroyed in the Second World War. In the post-war years, the architectural style was considered a false step backwards, and so the building was not reconstructed. Instead, it was replaced by a modern building designed by the architect Gerhard Gaubner. This building, constructed between 1957 and 1960, is considered to be a prominent example of postwar architecture and is therefore heritage-listed. The Aachen architects Jochen König and Thomas Croon, who were commissioned in 2009 with the construction of the new Centre Charlemagne have integrated the New City Museum into Graubner’s architecture. This involved extensive renovation of the facades on the Katschhof and Ritter-Chorus-Straße sides. The former forecourt was redesigned into a completely glazed entrance area.

Station History
Centre Charlemagne

The central starting point of the Route Charlemagne is the "Centre Charlemagne – Neues Stadtmuseum Aachen", located on the Katschhof between the Town Hall and the Cathedral. Here, visitors can get information on all the sights along the Route Charlemagne.


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