Last week we received very heart-breaking news of a major fire engulfing the medieval Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, one of France’s most famous landmarks. The 850-year-old Gothic building’s spire and roof have collapsed but the main structure, including the two bell towers, have been saved.
The major cause of the fire could be linked to the renovation work that began after cracks appeared in the stone, sparking fears that structure could become unstable. The fire began at around 18:30 (16:30 GMT) and quickly reached the roof of the cathedral, destroying its stained-glass windows and the wooden interior before toppling the spire. Watching such an embodiment of the permanence of a nation burn and its spire collapse is profoundly shocking to people all over the world.
Some 500 firefighters worked to prevent one of the bell towers from collapsing. More than four hours later, the main structure had been “saved and preserved” from total destruction.
Thank God, the destruction could have been massive which was saved due to the timely action of firefighters.
This icon of the French capital city doesn’t need any introduction. The Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral is located on the Ile de la Cité, in the 4th arrondissement. It took more than 200 years to build and, for a long time, it was the highest building in Paris. It hosted the coronation of Napoléon Ist and his wife, Joséphine de Beauharnais, which inspired the painter Jacques-Louis David to do the famous painting The Coronation of Napoleon, today exhibited in the Louvre Museum. The Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral also has a major role in the mythical eponymous novel by Victor Hugo, published in 1831. In this famous novel, Quasimodo, an orphan hunchback living in the cathedral as a bell ringer, falls in love with the beautiful Esmeralda, a bohemian who dances at the town square.
No other site represents France quite like Notre-Dame. Its main rival as a national symbol, the Eiffel Tower, is little more than a century old. Notre-Dame has stood tall above Paris since the 1200s.
It has given its name to one of the country’s literary masterpieces. Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre-Dame is known to the French simply as Notre-Dame de Paris.
The last time the cathedral suffered major damage was during the French Revolution. It survived two world wars largely unscathed.
The church receives almost 13 million visitors each year, more than the Eiffel Tower. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it was built in the 12th and 13th centuries and several statues of the facade of the Catholic cathedral were removed for renovation
The roof, which has been destroyed by the blaze, was made mostly of wood. Some of the art and artefacts were stored overnight in City Hall but they would be moved to the Louvre museum as soon as possible, said French culture minister Franck Riester. Many of the cathedral’s important artefacts – including paintings, sculptures and textiles – were held in its many chapels around the nave.
Sections of the cathedral were under scaffolding as part of the extensive renovations and 16 copper statues had been removed last week. Deputy Paris Mayor Emmanuel Gregoire said the building had suffered “colossal damages”, and teams were working to save the cathedral’s remaining artwork.
The damage is of such a massive scale that even one-billion-dollar won’t be enough!
News courtesy: BBC