Notre Dame cathedral in Paris which is considered to be a “spectacular work of architecture,” is making headlines because of the massive fire that destroyed the roof of the historic landmark, and toppled the cathedral’s spire. The cathedral was in the middle of a $6.8m renovation, with some sections under scaffolding, while bronze statues were removed last week for works. With the fire destroying major portion of the cathedral, now the building will have to be rebuilt. Considering its age and the architecture, reconstruction of the part that was destroyed may take considerable time. Meanwhile, do you know how long it took to build the original Notre Dame cathedral in the 12ththe century?
Notre-Dame is a medieval Catholic cathedral and is considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. Sculptures vividly illustrating biblical stories are the highlight of this Gothic cathedral which was meant for the vast majority of parishioners who were illiterate. It has two towers that are sixty-nine metres high, and were the tallest structures in Paris until the completion of the Eiffel Tower in 1889. A water reservoir, covered with a lead roof, is located between the two towers, behind the colonnade and the gallery and in front of the nave and the pignon. It can be used to quickly extinguish a fire. The exteriors of cathedrals and other Gothic churches were also decorated with sculptures of a variety of fabulous and frightening grotesques or monsters. Amid all the religious figures, some of the sculptural decoration was devoted to illustrating medieval science and philosophy.
Work on the cathedral was begun in 1160 and the church was complete in totality only in 1260, that is, 100 years after the commencement of the work. In 1160 Romanesque cathedral was demolished and it was decided to recycle the material to build new one. The new cathedral was built in four phases. The first phase was completed in 1182 which involved construction of the choir and its two ambulatories. The second phase, from 1182 to 1190, concerned the construction of the four sections of the nave behind the choir and its aisles to the height of the clerestories. In the third phase, a transept at the choir was added. In the final phase, upper gallery of the nave was constructed, along with the two towers on the west façade. The structure was renovated several times during last 8 centuries.