Notre Dame, the world-famous medieval Catholic Cathedral, located on the Île de la Cité in the 4th arrondissement of Paris, France nearly burned to the ground on April 15, 2019.
Considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, the cathedral’s construction began in 1160, under Bishop Maurice de Sully. One hundred years later, in 1260, the cathedral was completed. The chronicler Jean de Saint-Victor recorded in the ‘Memoriale Historiarum’ that the construction of the Cathedral began between 24 March and 25 April 1163 with the laying of the cornerstone in the presence of King Louis VII and Pope Alexander III.
It was modified frequently in the ensuing centuries.
John of Jandun, a French philosopher, theologian, and political writer, recognized Notre-Dame as one of Paris’s three most important buildings [prominent structures] in his 1323 Treatise on the Praises of Paris:
That most glorious church of the most glorious Virgin Mary, mother of God, deservedly shines out, like the sun among stars. And although some speakers, by their own free judgment, because [they are] able to see only a few things easily, may say that some other is more beautiful, I believe however, respectfully, that, if they attend more diligently to the whole and the parts, they will quickly retract this opinion. Where indeed, I ask, would they find two towers of such magnificence and perfection, so high, so large, so strong, clothed round about with such a multiple variety of ornaments? Where, I ask, would they find such a multipartite arrangement of so many lateral vaults, above and below? Where, I ask, would they find such light-filled amenities as the many surrounding chapels? Furthermore, let them tell me in what church I may see such a large cross, of which one arm separates the choir from the nave. Finally, I would willingly learn where [there are] two such circles, situated opposite each other in a straight line, which on account of their appearance are given the name of the fourth vowel [O] ; among which smaller orbs and circlets, with wondrous artifice, so that some arranged circularly, others angularly, surround windows ruddy with precious colors and beautiful with the most subtle figures of the pictures. In fact I believe that this church offers the carefully discerning such cause for admiration that its inspection can scarcely sate the soul.
A treasure trove of history is what Notre-Dame is. Not only for religion, but for its meaning to the country of France, the city of Paris, and ultimately the Catholic fate.
The day the Cathedral burned
While undergoing renovation and restoration, the cathedral of Notre-Dame caught fire on 15 April 2019 and sustained significant damage. During the initial phase of what was thought to be an uncontrollable fire, the entire roof and the main spire of the Cathedral collapsed.
— Reuters (@Reuters) April 16, 2019
Despite sustaining heavy damage, firefighters managed to save the stone vault reason why its interior remains largely intact. Reports suggest that both towers are safe despite initial doubt that the North tower could be saved.
Curiously, due to ongoing renovation, the iconic copper statues that were normally on the now collapsed spire were removed from the building a week prior.
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) April 16, 2019
Firefighters say that the Cathedral’s rose window was one of the few stained glass windows that survived.
Many artifacts were saved before the fire spread to other parts of the cathedral.
French President Emmanuel Macron announced that Notre-Dame will be rebuilt stating:
“It’s part of the fate, the destiny of France, and our common project over the coming years. And I am committed to it.”
— miguel (@ntltdemi) April 16, 2019
Here are some of the most shocking images of the fire that nearly consumed one of the most important and famous cathedrals on Earth.