Notre Dame in Paris: a symbol of the unity of France

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    Nicholas Bernau

Notre Dame

The world-famous Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris attracts nearly 13 million tourists and faithful annually, making it the most visited landmark in the French capital. As one of the world’s most imposing masterpieces of Gothic architecture, Notre-Dame is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Photo:

AFP

Paris –

There is only one Notre Dame. While this is unfair, it marks the historically and politically prominent rank of the Paris Cathedral for our era. Originally, Notre-Dame was symbolically by no means the most important French church: the kings were crowned in Reims. And their grave monuments are found for the most part in the abbey church of St. Denis in a suburb of Paris.

It was Napoleon I, who also discovered the possibilities of this church for our era, when in 1804 he founded his empire here with the blessing of the pope. Since then, Notre-Dame has been part of the European image and education canon, fueled by the “Hunchback of Notre-Dame” Victor Hugos to virtually every Paris film, of countless photographs, drawings, paintings and art history studies.

Premier Edouard Philippe (l) and President Emmanuel Macron visit the firefighting work on Notre-Dame

Political gesture: French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe (left) and President Emmanuel Macron visit the firefighting work on Notre-Dame.

Photo:

AFP / PHILIPPE WOJAZER

Notre-Dame Cathedral: Stunning architectural system

Part of the glory of Notre Dame Cathedral is its stunning architectural scheme. It is an architectural church like few others. This begins with the faade, which is made up of huge squares, and does not end at the choir, which is surrounded by the delicate web of the long-walled supporting arches. The inner faades of the church are dissolved in only three levels, the arcades rising from the ground, above each two arches in front of a gallery and directly above the slender windows.

Paris Cathedral Notre-Dame is on fire

ND tower collapse

The middle pinnacle at the moment of collapse.

Notre Dame Deletion

The fire department tries to fight the flames.

Notre Dame 5

Large parts of the cathedral have already fallen victim to the fire.

Notre Dame 4

Notre-Dame is wrapped in fire and smoke.

Devastating fire in one of the world's most famous landmarks, the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Photo: Thibault Camus / AP

Devastating fire in one of the world’s most famous landmarks, the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Photo: Thibault Camus / AP

Flames and smoke rise from one of the world's most famous landmarks, the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Photo: AP

Flames and smoke rise from one of the world’s most famous landmarks, the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Photo: AP

The Paris Cathedral Notre-Dame is on fire. Photo: Lori Hinant / AP

The Paris Cathedral Notre-Dame is on fire. Photo: Lori Hinant / AP

A huge column of smoke stands over one of the world's most famous landmarks - Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Photo: Lori Hinant / AP

A huge column of smoke stands over one of the world’s most famous landmarks – Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Photo: Lori Hinant / AP

The mayor of the French capital speaks of a "terrible fire". Photo: Matthias Wagner

The mayor of the French capital speaks of a “terrible fire”. Photo: Matthias Wagner

A huge column of smoke stands over one of the world's most famous landmarks - Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Photo: Juan Cristobal Cruz Revueltas

A huge column of smoke stands over one of the world’s most famous landmarks – Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Photo: Juan Cristobal Cruz Revueltas

Like all the other cathedrals since the middle of the 12th century, Notre-Dame, to achieve this effect, uses the possibilities of the pointed arch and the vault, supported only by slender ribs: in contrast to the massive Romanesque constructions, they also allowed vaults to be asymmetrical Forgive them, sailing them between slender columns and walls to stretch and open the huge windows that are characteristic of the French Gothic.

The citizens of Paris, their bishop, but above all the French kings wanted to set a sign against the rebellious feudal nobility with this building and its appropriately magnificent artistic equipment with glass windows, sculptures and paintings, fabrics and church utensils: cathedrals symbolized the unity and modernity of France under the rule of realpolitisch often very weak kings.

It took barely eighty years before the chancel to the facade between 1160 and 1240 this cathedral was newly created. In view of the technical possibilities, this is still barely believable short – as a reminder: we are already planning and building 25 years at BER Airport.