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Aachen

Aachen (Fr., Aix-la-Chapelle; Lat., Aquisgranum), an important town in a province of the same name, situated 38 miles S.W. of Cologne in Rhenish Prussia. Apart from its pleasant situation and its celebrity as a health resort on account of its sulphur and chalybeate springs, Aachen possesses a never-failing source of attraction to visitors in its historical antiquity, and more particularly in its cathedral. This splendid building, of which the oldest portions date back to 796, is a specimen of the Byzantine style, and forms an octagon in shape, surrounded by various additions which make it outside a sixteen-sided figure. In the octagonal chapel is the tomb of Charlemagne, while some of his bones are in the sacristy; and the cathedral also possesses a store of "relics," some of which are exhibited only once in seven years. Other buildings of interest are the Rath-haus (where for seven centuries the successors of Charlemagne were crowned), the public library, the gymnasium, and the theatre. Aachen is an important centre of commerce, its chief industries being the production of glass, cigars, chemicals, machinery, woollen fabrics, and silken goods. It is also of historical interest as the scene of the conclusion of various treaties of peace - one in 1668 between France and Spain, ending the war for the possession of the Spanish Netherlands; another in 1748, which ended the Austrian war of succession. In 1818 a Congress was held here, at which it was agreed that the army of the Allies should be withdrawn from France, and that France should once more resume her position as a Power, after having paid the amount agreed upon.

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