This week the entire world witnessed one of the biggest tragedies that a country could ever face – the loss of cultural heritage, the loss of something which remained unchanged when everything else did change.
On April 15, 2019, France lost one of its biggest landmarks – the legendary cathedral Notre Dame.
It is not completely clear what caused the fire which enveloped the iconic spire and a good part of the roof although it is speculated it could be related to ongoing renovation work.
And while France and the entire world already joined forces to make Notre Dame raise again, we should take a moment and learn some key facts about the huge importance of this legendary cathedral in the history France:
1. Most of the stained glass windows of Notre Dame date from the 13th century when the cathedral itself was constructed!
2. Notre Dame is the most popular landmark in France, even more than the Eiffel Tower itself!
3. Each year Notre Dame is visited by best estimate 13 million visitors way more than the Eiffel Tower itself which is visited by 6.9 million visitors per year.
4. Taking the crown from the pope’s, Napoleon crowned himself an emperor in Notre Dame back in 1804. He is also the one who renovated the Notre Dame in 1804.5. Notre Dame is one of the largest religious buildings in the world.
6. There was a small hive of bees living on the roof of Notre Dame. Their honey was given away to the poor.
7. The Notre Dame is home of one of the most religious artifacts in the world – the Crown of Thorns which is believed to be forced upon the head of Jesus Christ before his crucifixion.
8. Notre Dame is considered to be one of the finest examples of the French Gothic architecture.
9. Notre Dame took over 200 years to be built. During the French revolution, a lot of the religious structures were destroyed to then be reconstructed by Eugene Viollet-le-Duc towards the middle of the 18th century.
10. Notre Dame was built on the same spot where the pagan Gallo-Roman city once stood, it was called Lutetia.
11. One of the most popular book in the French and world classic literature was set in Notre Dame – The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo. The book was so popular that it brought awareness of the importance of the cathedral and inspired people to join forces to save it.
12. Notre Dame hosted numerous royal weddings throughout the history: James V (king of Scotland) married Madeleine of Valois back in 1537, Marry Queen of Scots married her first husband Francis (Dauphin of France) in 1558 and last, but not least, King I of England married Henrietta Maria of France.
13. The twin towers of Notre Dame which are 69 meter high were the highest buildings in Paris until the completion of the Eiffel Tower.
14. Notre Dame de Paris in reality means “Our lady of Paris”.
15. Quite by accident, the largest bell of Notre Dame is called “Emmanuel” just like the current president of France who vowed to restore Notre Dame in 5 years! Coincidence? I don’t think so!