Notre Dame Cathedral: A Must-See Gothic Monument


If visiting cathedrals is your passion and you want to explore some of these ancient masterpieces, then here is the information about two famous destinations that have caught the fancy of the tourist since centuries. Notre Dame Cathedral (also called Notre-Dame de Paris or Our Lady of Paris) is an excellent piece of Gothic architecture, is a monument of immense importance.

It is world-famous for its architecture and antiquity. Situated in Paris, the number of visitors that it attracts annually far exceeds any of the other tourist attraction of France. The cathedral is dedicated to Virgin Mary. It was a place of worship for the Christians and had religious significance attached to it. There are several attractions at Notre Dame Cathedral Paris. The west front has notable towers; a huge bell weighing about 500 kg attracts the visitors by its hugeness. A king’s gallery is a collection of sculptures of kings of Israel and Judah.

Notre Dame Cathedral
Notre Dame Cathedral: Image Attribution: CC BY-SA 3.0

History of Cathedral Notre Dame

The site of the Notre Dame Cathedral was once occupied by a Gallo-Roman Temple. Later two churches were built here and this Cathedral was built on the ruins of these churches. It was Maurice de Sully who conceived the idea of coming with a Gothic Cathedral in place of two earlier existing smaller churches or basilicas. But it was in the late 12th century that Pope Alexander III came up with idea of giving it a shape and the foundation stone was laid in 1163. In the coming years, altar, porches, facade, and chapels came into existence.

Last Judgement Depicted on Notre Dame Cathedral
Last Judgement Depicted on Notre Dame Cathedral

Inside Notre Dam Cathedral

The portals of Cathedral of Notre Dame are masterpieces in themselves. They have depictions of Last Judgment where the Christ is shown as the protector of humanity.

Parthenon is an ancient temple of Greece that has been dedicated to goddess Athena. The temple symbolizes the grandeur of Athenian civilization that was at its zenith at the time of its construction. Built in 447 BC, Parthenon architecture reflects Doric order that is seen in its columns. It was considered a monument of excellence that embodies Greek art and culture. A statue made in gold and ivory is that of goddess Athena and is the main attraction of Parthenon. As the goddess had cult status in Greece, this statue was considered quite important form religious point of view.

West Facade Towers: Notre Dame Cathedral Paris
West Facade Towers: Image Attribution: By Peter Haas, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Notre Dame Cathedral Paris has two Gothic towers that form art of the western facade. Each of the towers is 68 meters in height. The Cathedral consist of a choir (a place for liturgical singers), an apse (an architecture showing termination of choir and is used for placing images of a deity), and a transept (which projects to north or south part of the building). The apse has large windows supported by Gothic-styled flying buttresses.

Other notable features that attract both the tourists and historians are frieze and metopes. There are more than 90 metopes that are carved elaborately. The use of frieze is also emphasized. An illustrative depiction of Panathenaic procession is worth admiring.

Notre Dame Cathedral Restoration

On April 15, 2019, a massive fire gripped the Cathedral Notre Dame. Since then, the restoration work has been growing steadily and the monument is expected to be opened for public by December 2024. The objects of restoration have been mural paintings, stained glass windows, cathedral’s vaults, choir, nave, and transept.

Notre Dame Restoration
Notre Dame Restoration: Image Attribution: By SiefkinDR – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Notre Dame Cathedral restoration includes cleaning of objects and rebuilding of the structures destroyed. The stained-glass windows were not damaged in the fire and these required only cleaning the smoke and the dust. The stained-glass windows at several structures were removed as an act of protection from the ongoing work. vacuum cleaning and desalinating of the interior of the Cathedral was done. The stones of the collapse vaults were replaced with hard and soft stones, The lead dust was removed from the Grand Organ.

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