The fire which broke out over Notre Dame cathedral’s scaffolding blazed for more than 12 hours. By the time it was fully put out, two-thirds of the roof had been destroyed and its spire had collapsed. The overall structure remained intact but still fragile. Recent photos released by international media reveals the extent of the damage.
A before-and-after image from New York Post
The fire is believed to have been triggered by the restoration efforts being conducted. The Notre Dame cathedral has been undergoing construction in a €150m restoration programme since 2018. However, an official investigation has only just begun so no definitive cause for the fire has been announced as of yet.
Photo from Christophe Morin
Whatever the cause of the fire, people all over the world have banded together to mourn the loss and harm it inflicted. More than being a religious structure, the cathedral stood as a place of art, history, and culture. People of all faiths recognized the event for what it was — a tragedy.
Nora Heimann, a professor of art history, explains that “the church itself is its own treasure because it is a place of so much history. It is a place that single-handedly tells us the story of Paris and of France itself and its evolution. I don’t think there is any one thing inside of it that is more valuable than the thing as a whole.”
Photo from Christophe Morin
Of course, this hurt was even greater for the French. Crowds gathered in alarm as the fire overtook the cathedral; some were praying, some were singing, and some were simply stuck watching in abject horror. The Notre Dame cathedral has been the heart of their city for over a century, having been built in 1163. It has become an ‘enduring symbol’ of the city’s past and destiny.
CNN quotes Anne Marie, a Parisian, with saying: “Paris without the cathedral is not Paris anymore.”
Photo from AFP
In the face of this great sadness, French President Emmanuel Macron promised his people that Notre Dame is “our history, our literature, the epicenter of our life, the standard by which we measure our distances. It’s so many books, so many paintings. It’s the cathedral of every French person, even those who have never visited it. This history is ours. We will rebuild Notre Dame because it is what the French people expect, it is what our history deserves, and it is our deep destiny.”
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Photo from New York Post
Though the structure may never be exactly the same again, Macron has promised to rebuild it “even more beautiful.” Hundreds of millions of euros have already been pledged to its eventual restoration by some of France’s wealthiest citizens. The rescue of a number of its invaluable relics (such as the crown of thorns) is another ray of hope in the dark situation.
The Notre Dame cathedral has survived monarchies and revolutions, world wars and occupations. And it will survive this.
Have you ever been to the cathedral? Share your memories and photos of Notre Dame with us in the comments!