Charlemagne's palace, the era of coronations and the tradition of pilgrimages have produced an unique and magnificent church treasure whose most famous pieces are on show today in the Cathedral Treasury. The oldest piece is a Roman sarcophagus which portrays a scene from ancient mythology, and in which Charlemagne was initially buried. From Charlemagne's palatine school in Aachen comes a book cover carved from ivory and showing scenes from the story of Christ's resurrection. According to medieval legend, several other pieces of the Cathedral treasure belonged to Charlemagne himself, one of them a hunting horn fashioned from the tusk of an elephant.
It portrays him as an ideal and timeless paragon of sovereignity uniting classical, German and French traditions. The bust was donated around 1349 by Charles IV and contains a piece of Charlemagne's skull. During the coronation ceremonies in Aachen, it was carried towards the arriving king, so that Charlemagne symbolically greeted his successor at the gates of the city. The Cross of Lothair, another masterpiece of medieval sacral art from the late 10th century, also played a role in the coronation ceremony.
The Cathedral Treasury holds a large number of other sacral objects, for example the striking arm reliquary of Charlemagne or the coronation cloak of Charles IV (Cappa Leonis) from the 14th century. Then there are paintings from the late Middle Ages and early modern times and a whole section devoted to the history of the pilgrimages.
The exhibition is explained by an audio-guide. In the framework of the Route Charlemagne, the Cathedral Treasury complements the theme of "Religion" and documents the sacral history of Aachen.