On stepping out of the red gate of the Cathedral into the open, you will see the site of the Kings’ Palaces of Paderborn. This is a modern form of a resurrected palace auditorium; its foundations date back to the time of Emperor Heinrich II. The remains of the wall of a Carolingian Emperor’s Palace were excavated to the northern side of the Cathedral. This was the venue for several ‘Reichs’ assemblies. The 50m long hall construction of the Ottonian-Salian palace from the 11th and 12th Century was newly erected on the old foundations in the 1970s.
The Kings’ Palaces served as a residence for travelling medieval rulers. It was here that Charlemagne met Pope Leo III, who escaped from Rome, in the year 799. This meeting was of very great political importance for Europe in those times. Following Leo’s expulsion from Rome, he found shelter with the King, who helped him to gain new power in Rome. In return, in the year 800, Pope Leo crowned King Charles as Emperor in Rome. The Imperial Palace is the venue for an interesting museum. From an art historical perspective, the Chapel of Bartholomew is the most significant church building of Paderborn. Apparently, Byzantine builders built the chapel in 1017. It is the oldest vestibule church north of the Alps with remarkable interior pillar capitals and most impressive acoustics. The modest exterior appearance deceives its extraordinary interior design and architecture, which is unique for the 11th Century north of the Alps.