When the architects of Cathedral of Notre-Dame set to work some 850 years in the past, their objectives have been nothing if not formidable.
The church’s sanctuary, they decreed, should be taller than any constructed earlier than. The nave would rise 108 ft, and the two 223-feet-tall towers would forged a far-reaching shadow over the roofs of Paris.
The 12th century had simply entered its second half, and to realize new heights, the builders made early use of exterior helps often called flying buttresses.
The cathedral right this moment is one of the most iconic pictures of Paris, second solely, maybe, to the Eiffel Tower. Around 13 million guests tour the construction annually, and untold postcards bearing photographs of its towers and its rose home windows are despatched again house.
On Monday, the world was once more gazing at Notre-Dame — however now in horror, not awe.
The cathedral sits in the middle of the Seine river, on the Île de la Cité. It took more than 200 years to build, and was begun under King Louis VII.
History had a way of finding its ways through its doors.
Henry VI was crowned there in 1431.
In October 1793, amid the fervor of the French Revolution, antiroyalists forced their way into the cathedral’s Royal Gallery, and used ropes to pull down statues of what they thought were kings.
They were — just not the kings the revolutionaries thought. The statues depicted the old Kings of Judea.
But out they were dragged, anyway, into Cathedral Square, where they met the same fate as so many others during the revolution: the guillotine.
As it happens, it was Napoleon who ended up saving the cathedral. Decades later, in 1804, he was crowned emperor there.