Notre-Dame de Paris, usually known as Notre Dame, is a medieval Catholic cathedral, located in the 4th arrondissement of Paris. The word Notre-Dame de Paris means “Our Lady of Paris”. It’s considered to be one of the best works of French Gothic architecture, and is basically consecrated to Virgin Mary. The elements that make this cathedral stand out, include the largest church bells and organs across the whole world.
History of Notre Dame Cathedral
The construction of Notre-Dame de Paris began in the year 1163, and the cornerstone was laid in the presence of Pope Alexander III and King Louis VII. This cathedral is famous for its architecture, size and antiquity. This cathedral is located in the east of Île de la Cité, and was constructed in the remains of two churches. The bishop of Paris, Maurice de Sully, was the person who initiated this Cathedral, comprising of a short transept, choir and apse and a nave bounded by square chapels and double aisles. Due to the instability of its central spire, it was removed in the 18th century, and then restored in the 19th century.
In 1780, after the French Revolution, the Cathedrals property was seized and made public authority. The cathedral has suffered deterioration and damage since then. Later on, in 1793, the cathedral was rededicated to the Cult of the Supreme Being and the Cult of Reason. Over this time period, the treasures included in Notre Dame Cathedral were mostly plundered or destroyed. There were statues of 28 biblical kings, assumed to be statues of French kings in the west façade, which were also destroyed and beheaded. For some time, Virgin Mary was replaced by the Goddess of Liberty. The cathedral was later being used as a place for storage of food and other non-religious matters.
Restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral
After the Napoleon wars, the state of the cathedral was so bad that the officials in Paris had considered demolishing it. The interior of the cathedral was restored by Paris’s new bishop, Jean-Baptiste de Belloy. In 1831, Victor Hugo (who admired the cathedral) published a book “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame”, in order to save the cathedral. This book contributed immensely in raising awareness of the decaying state of the Notre Dame Cathedral. In the year 1844, the restoration of the Notre Dame Cathedral was ordered by King Louis Philippe. Later on, in the year 1944, the cathedral again suffered minor damage from stray bullets, during the liberation of Paris. The original off-white color of the cathedral was then restored in the year 1963.
In 2019, the Notre Dame Cathedral caught fire which completely ruined the lead roof, spire and the oak frame. However, the main structure, including the towers, walls, façade, and windows, were all intact.
President Macron, right after the incident, promised to restore the Notre Dame Cathedral. The roof and the spire were to be redesigned as part of an international architectural competition.