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Last Updated : Apr 16, 2019 01:34 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris: Things you did not know

The meaning of Notre-Dame de Paris in English is ‘Our Lady of Paris’.

Jagyaseni Biswas
A flock of starlings fly over the Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica on an autumn day at sunset in Marseille, France, November 4, 2015. Image: REUTERS
A flock of starlings fly over the Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica on an autumn day at sunset in Marseille, France, November 4, 2015. Image: REUTERS

Jagyaseni Biswas


Built between 1163 and 1345, Paris’s famous Notre Dame Cathedral or Notre-Dame de Paris (Our Lady of Paris) is 425-feet long and 157-feet wide. It has beautiful, ornate, rose-tinted windows that go up to 32 feet in height. Some of those date back to the 13th century, when the structure was erected.


The Gothic architecture was built on the Ile de la Cite, the very heart of the city, and is believed to be one of the world’s largest religious buildings. It is still a functional church, and many religious ceremonies are yet held there. The monument is also highly revered because it houses the Crown of Thorns.


It attracts over 13 million visitors every year and is considered the most popular monument in all of France. Anyone can enter the cathedral free-of-charge every day of the year.


The French Revolution had greatly taken its toll on the cathedral as it did on others. Several portions of the structure were destroyed, and it almost reduced to a warehouse. It was only revived to its former glory after Napoleon Bonaparte decided to coronate himself in its premises, and Victor Hugo penned down the famous book ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’.


The cathedral is most well-known for its gargoyles, twin towers, and Emmanuel bell. Interestingly, the two towers, though seemingly identical, are not exact copies. The north tower is a bit bigger than the south tower, where Notre Dame’s largest bell -- Emmanuel Bell – exists. All the others were melted to make canons.


Also, though its gargoyles or chimaera (carved monsters that are not waterspouts attract most visitors), very few of them know that the creatures weren’t perched on the cathedral until the 19th century.


One of Paris’s oldest surviving wood-timber frames is also present there. It consists of 52 acres of trees, earning itself the moniker “The Forest”.


The Notre-Dame houses an organ that has 8,000 pipes and five keyboards, making it the biggest pipe organ in France, reported Mentalfloss.com.

Before Notre Dame, a Christian basilica -- St Stephen Cathedral -- stood there to honour St Stephen. It is believed that the first stone of the cathedral was laid in the presence of Pope Alexander III.

First Published on Apr 16, 2019 01:34 pm
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