Once the capital of Charlemagne’s Frankish empire, modern Aachen (pop.246,000) is a trove of historical treasures and a thriving forum for up-and-com-ing European artists. The three-tiered dome and dazzling blue-gold mosaics of the Dom are in the center of the city; Charlemagne’s remains lie in the reliquary behind the altar. (Open M-Sa llam-7pm, Su 12:30-7pm, except during services.) Around the comer is the Schatzkammer, Klosterpl. 2, a treasury of reliquaries containing John the Baptist’s hair and ribs, splinters and nails from the cross, and Christ’s scourging robe. A silver bust of Charlemagne holds his skull. (Open M lOam-lpm, Tu-W and F-Su 10am-6pm, Th 10am-9pm. 2.50, students 2.) The Ludwigforum fiir Internationale Kunst, Julicherstr. 97-109, houses a rotating collection of cutting-edge art. (Open Tu and Th 10am-5pm, W and F 10am-8pm, Sa-Su llam-5pm. Free tours Su 11:30am and 3pm. 3, students 1.50.)

Trains run to Brussels (2hr. every 2hr. 20) and Cologne (lhr. 2-3 per hr. 11). The tourist office, on Friedrich-Wilhelm-Pl. in the Atrium Elisenbrunnen, runs tours and finds rooms for free. From the station, head up Bahnhofstr.; turn left onto The-aterstr. which becomes Theaterpl. then turn right onto Kapuzinergraben, which becomes Friedrich-Wilhelm-Pl. ( 180 29 60. Open M-F 9am-6pm, Sa 9am-2pm.) The Euroregionales Jugendgastehaus (HI) , Maria-Theresia-Allee 260, feels more like a hotel than a hostel. From the station, walk left on Lagerhausstr. until it intersects Karmeliterstr. and Mozartstr. then take bus #2 (dir.: Preusswald) to Ron-heide. (s71 10 10. Breakfast included. Curfew lam. Dorms 21; singles 34; doubles 52.) Hotel Drei Konig , Biichel 5, on the comer of Marktpl. is just steps from the Rathaus. ( 483 93. Breakfast included. Reception daily 8am-llpm. Singles 45, with bath 65; doubles 6575; triples 100.) Pontstrafie, off Marktpl. and the pedestrian zone have a lot of great restaurants. The Mexican cocktail bar and restaurant Sausalitos , Markt 47, has become Aachen’s most popular place to eat. (Entrees 6-13. Open daily noon-lam.) Postal Code: 52064.

ACHEN MAP Photo Gallery

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