As a fire ravages Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, here are some facts about the iconic landmark that you can share with your child.
Seat of the Archbishop of Paris
Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, among the city’s most famous monuments, attracts nearly 13 million visitors each year. Seat of the Archdiocese of Paris, the Gothic cathedral whose name means Notre-Dame de Paris (Notre-Dame de Paris), was built over 200 years ago, between 1163 and 1345 during the reign of King Louis VII . Several of its beautiful stained glass windows date from the 13th century.
Iconic twin towers
Located in the heart of Paris, on the small island of Ile de la Cité, Notre-Dame is 120 meters long, 45 meters wide and 35 meters high. Its pillars are 16 feet in diameter. The iconic twin towers are 226 feet tall and 387 steps.
Napoleon crowned himself emperor there.
The Catholic Church has witnessed several important religious and ceremonial events. For example, in 1431, Henry VI of England was made king of France here. In 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned emperor (he would have crowned himself!) at the cathedral. In 1909, Joan of Arc was beatified there by Pope Pius X.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
After its fall during the French Revolution, Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame drew attention to the monument and helped restore its lost glory, overseen by architects Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Lassus and Eugene Viollet-le-Duc. The statues seen on the walls of Notre-Dame include fantastical creatures like gargoyles and chimeras were added during the reconstruction, as well as the 12 apostles.
Emmanuel Bell, the greatest
The south tower houses the Emmanuel bell of Notre-Dame, its largest, which weighs 28,000 pounds. During the French Revolution, 20 of its bells were melted down to make cannons. These were replaced in the 19th century and then again in 2013, as the earlier ones were considered dissonant.
The crown of thorns is kept here
Among the largest religious buildings in the world, the crown of thorns, believed to be worn by Jesus Christ before his crucifixion, is kept in the cathedral.
Wooden trellis called ‘forest’
Interestingly, over 50 acres of trees were apparently felled to build the timber frames, with each beam constructed from an individual tree. The wooden trellis was popularly known as the “forest” for this reason and is said to have contributed to the raging fire.