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Archaeologists have found evidence of human settlements in Aachen dating back as far as the Neolithic Period. The Ancient Romans also inhabited the area, attracted to it by its plentiful natural hot springs which they converted into traditional Roman baths. Some of these baths are known to have been used for centuries by later residents of the city and many can still be seen in the city today.
After the fall of Rome, Aachen became part of the Holy Roman Empire, with Charlemagne liking the area so much that he had a castle built there. The emperor often spent the winter in Aachen in order to take advantage if its hot springs. The chapel from his castle still remains in the city today, as part of Aachen Cathedral where Charlemagne's remains are buried. The cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
During the Middle Ages, Aachen was one of the most important cities in the Holy Roman Empire, with all of its Emperors being crowned in its cathedral. Following that period, the city passed back and forth between France and Prussia as the result of a long series of wars and treaties until the early 19th Century when France gave it up permanently.
Aachen sustained a great deal of damage during the Second World War, but has since rebuilt and regularly attracts visitors from all over Europe and North America.