Certified "Cultural Route of the Council of Europe" in 2018
The Carolingian dynasty finds its crucible in the heart of Austrasia, where a wealth of testimonies of the Carolingian saga has been permeating in the local culture ever since the Early Middle Ages.
Crowned Western Emperor in 800, Charlemagne still embodies a federative, consensus-based figure: reunifying Western Europe, he modernised his Empire by establishing a single currency in silver, the denier, a common readable script, the Caroline, an upturn in schooling, a cultural revival with the Carolingian Renaissance, a more balanced justice with the Missi dominici…
Iconic figure of chivalric tales, the legends about Charlemagne expanded throughout the European continent, from Iceland to Sicily and from Portugal to Latvia and to the Balkans, thus improving intercultural relationships between European countries. The chansons de geste, epic poems narrating heroic deeds of these ancient times, revive the Carolingian history: the most famous ones are the chanson de Roland and the chanson de Renaud de Montauban, which lead to the legend of the four sons of Aymon. Among the monuments, places, objects and landscapes related to the Carolingian era, hundreds of statues representing Charlemagne, Roland or the four sons of Aymon can be found throughout Europe, as well as UNESCO world heritage landscapes: Roland’s Breach, Rocamadour and the Salto de Roldán.
Via Charlemagne is offering a unique opportunity for Europeans looking for their common cultural roots, following the footsteps of the father of Europe. The Route is indeed historical, cultural and religious, but also legendary: along the different routes, you shall see the heroes, magical swords, horses and enchanters described in the Carolingian myths and legends. The Internet site of the association provides a map illustrating different itineraries that are part of Via Charlemagne.
Council of Europe values
Considered as the father of Europe, of the first unified Europe, the cultural values developed and maintained by Charlemagne and by his dynasty are still well alive nowadays. Promoting the chivalrous and humanistic values specific to the Carolingian legends, Via Charlemagne aims to raise awareness among young Europeans of all ages about the fact that shared cultural history is the essence of a common European citizenship, in its unity and diversity.