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Andreas Steindl


Together with Rome, Jerusalem and Santiago de Compostela, Aachen was one of the most important pilgrimage sites of the Middle Ages. It all started with a generous gift: it is said that Charlemagne was presented with set of precious relics from Jerusalem when his church was consecrated in 799.

Legend has it that among them were Aachen Cathedral’s four main relics which found safekeeping in the Shrine of the Virgin Mary in 1239. Ever since 1349, the four cloth relics have been displayed to the faithful from around the world every seven years.

What are the sanctuaries?

The four cloth relics are ancient fabrics, which are called…

… the dress of the Virgin Mary from the night when Jesus was born. Foto: Andreas Steindl
… the swaddling clothes of Jesus, with which Mary gave protection to the child. Foto: Angelika Kamlage
… the loincloth of Jesus, which he is said to have worn on the cross. Foto: Angelika Kamlage
… the cloth in which the head of John the Baptist was kept after the beheading. Foto: Angelika Kamlage