Notre Dame Cathedral is a majestic Catholic Cathedral in Paris, France. The Cathedral was built in medieval times. It is one of the world’s most famous church buildings. Its towering structures and Gothic style architecture make it remarkably beautiful.
Description and History
Construction of the Notre Dame Cathedral began in the 12th century and went on for more than 200 years. The different architectural designs on the Cathedral are evidence of the change in times when the building was under construction. The Cathedral occupies an area of 5,500 square meters. It has a predominant French Gothic design. Notable features on the Cathedral are the flying buttresses that provide support to the outside walls. Individual statues which act as column support and dot the outside of the building. A variety of artwork, relics, and medieval furniture are on display inside the Cathedral. There are ten giant bells in Notre Dame Cathedral. The largest bell which weighs up to 13 tons is christened Emmanuel. The bells are used at various events and services in the church.
Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the few Gothic Cathedrals in the world. The Cathedral’s sculptures display ancient art designs that have survived throughout the years. Notre Dame Cathedral houses some of the holy relics of the Catholic faith including the ‘Crown of Thorns’ and one ‘Holy nail.' Although the Cathedral did not have flying buttresses in its original design, it was among the first buildings in the world to use flying buttresses for support.
The Notre Dame Cathedral is an iconic tourist attraction in France. The Cathedral has immense religious, historical, and cultural significance. Most people visit Notre Dame Cathedral due to its magnificent architectural designs. History lovers and archaeologists equally visit the Cathedral to learn about French history. It is also a popular site for Christian tourists. The Visitors can attend one of the three Church services conducted daily.
Significant Events at Notre Dame Cathedral
In December 16th, 1431, King Henry VI of England was coroneted the King of France in the Notre Dame Cathedral. He was only ten years old at the time. On August 18th, 1572, Henry of Navarre married his wife Margaret outside the Cathedral. Henry was a protestant which meant they could not wed inside the church. Prolific French author Victor Hugo published the famous novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” in 1831. The book is based on the Notre Dame Cathedral. More recently on December 12th, 2012 marked the start of celebration at Notre Dame Cathedral commemorating 850 years of existence. Unfortunately, the Cathedral has been a target for terrorist attacks in the past four years. The French police have made several arrests in connection to the attacks.
Threats and Conservation Efforts
Notre Dame Cathedral has suffered significant damage during its many years of existence. In 1548, rioting groups destroyed sculptures and other artworks in the Cathedral claiming that the items were idolatrous. In the 17th century, King Louis XIV oversaw various alterations to the Cathedral’s structures as an attempt to modernize the building. The spire and the stained glass windows were destroyed in the process. Damage to the Cathedral continued in the 18th century during the French revolution. Statues were beheaded and valuable items vandalized. Restoration efforts began in 1845 led by architects Eugène Viollet-le-Duc and Jean-Baptiste-Antoine. A major restoration program began in 1991 by repairing the old sculptures and reconstructing the damaged structures.