Inside Notre Dame’s history – when was it built, who owns it and what is it famous for?
A fire destroyed parts of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Monday night, a structure that has been around for centuries.
The full extent of the damage isn’t yet known, but fortunately several relics were saved before they could be destroyed by the flames.
Notre-Dame de Paris has been a prominent part of Paris’ history and has overseen royal coronations and been a place of support for believers during difficult times.
Here is everything that you need to know about the historic cathedral and why the fire has had such a devastating effect on Paris and the rest of the world.
When was Notre Dame cathedral built?
Construction of the cathedral first began in 1163 under King Louis VII but it wasn’t until the 1300’s that the building was mostly finished.
It is recognised as being completed in 1345 after various changes were added while it was being built, including remodels of the transepts and the additions of the rose windows.
The decision to create the new church came from Maurice de Sully, who was the Bishop of Paris, and he decided that it should be built with Gothic style.
It was damaged during the French Revolution in the 1790s and remained neglected until the 1840s when architects started to overhaul parts of the structure.
The area that Notre Dame was built on is believed to have been the site of a Gallo-Roman temple, possibly dating back as far as the fourth century.
What does Notre Dame mean in English?
The phrase ‘Notre Dame’ translates to ‘Our Lady’ in English.
It is a phrase that refers to Mary, the mother of Jesus, and it is used for the name of various churches.
Who owns Notre Dame cathedral?
The cathedral is currently owned by the French state, but a 1905 law helped establish that the state would be neutral when it comes to religion and the public would have freedom to carry out their beliefs.
This meant that the Catholic Church became the designated beneficiary and were able to use the cathedral exclusively to practise the religion.
This also means that the archbishop is responsible for paying employees of Notre Dame, including security and cleaners, while it must also remain open for people to visit for free.
Who is the current Archbishop of Paris?
Michel Aupetit was appointed as the Archbishop of Paris by Pope Francis in December 2017, after previously being the Bishop of Nanterre.
He overlooks 23 archdiocese of the Catholic Church in France, including Notre Dame de Paris, which is considered to be the liturgical centre where he conducts many of his services.
Is the Hunchback of Notre Dame real?
This is actually based on a Gothic novel that was written by Victor Hugo in 1831.
It follows the story of the gypsy Esmeralda, and Quasimodo, the hunchback who tries to protect her from Claude Frollo.
The story became an important part of French culture and Victor had written it to help highlight the Gothic architecture of the cathedral.
It has since been adapted in various forms including films, TV, theatre and ballet.
What are the Notre Dame rose windows?
There are several stained glass windows in Notre Dame, with the three rose windows being among the most well-known parts of the cathedral.
The first one can be found to the west of the building and was made in 1225, although none of the original glass remains.
It was in 1250 and 1260 that the other two rose windows were installed.
The term rose window is usually used for circular stained-glass windows that feature in Gothic style churches, and they usually have a flower pattern.
What are the names of the bells of Notre Dame?
There are currently ten bells in Notre Dame and they are named after various saints, as well as other people who are significant to Paris and the cathedral.
The most prominent bell is Emmanuel, which has been used for various key comments throughout history including coronations of kings and the end of the two World Wars.
Names of the bells of Notre-Dame de Paris
How to donate to the Notre Dame restoration fund
The Heritage Foundation in France is currently taking donations to help the restoration of the Notre-Dame de Paris, with over 1 million euros collected so far.
It was said in a statement that French billionaire businessman Bernard Arnault’s family and his LVMH luxury goods group will donate €200 million (£172 million) to help repair the cathedral.
Francois-Henri Pinault and his family have also pledged to donate €100 million (£86 million) for the restoration.