Sunday, February 21, 2010

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris

We have visited the Notre Dame church and Paris a number of times, but the history of this famous church continues to intrigue people from around the world.
There is no building in France as associated with the history of Paris as this marvelous church. The Pope of Alexandria III was the person who placed the first foundation stone in 1163. He was also the first person who marked the beginning of 170 years of hard work for the Gothic architects and craftsman. Over the construction period, numerous architects worked on the site, as is evidenced by the differing styles at different heights of the west front and towers. Between 1210 and 1220, the fourth architect oversaw the construction of the level with the rose window and the great halls beneath the towers.
The church is a gothic masterpiece which was built at the place of a former Roman temple. The magnificent interior becomes obvious as soon as you enter the cathedral. Many sculptures decorate the building. The Notre Dame de Paris was among the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress (arched exterior supports). The building was not originally designed to include the flying buttresses around the choir and nave, but after the construction began and the thinner walls grew ever higher, stress fractures began to occur as the walls pushed outward. In response, the cathedral's architects built supports around the outside walls, and later additions continued the pattern.
Later in the day on a seine river boat tour we were able to see the beautiful construction of the buttresses and getting a different perspective of this beautiful church.
Notre Dame has also been the place of chaos and confusion. Revolutionaries have plundered it and forbid the religion it had been built for.
Napoleon Bonaparte re-introduced the religion in 1804 and Notre Dame was restored by the architecture Viollet Le Duc who among other things put back the missing statues.
The interior of the cathedral is open every day and admission is free except for a small museum of relics and religious items located within the cathedral. Services are still held for those who wish to pray or gather for worship.
My friend and I decided that we would go to the top of the Notre-Dame tower. To visit it is a trip through the upper parts of the western fa├žade which date from the 13th century. From here you can see the gargoyles and chimera built by Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century and the 17th century Emmanuel Bell. At that time I was in pretty good shape, because there were 387 steps we had the time, due to the fact there wasn’t an elevator to the top of the South Tower.
I have then in some of the largest cathedrals in the world, but they history of this old church still intrigues me every time I am in Paris.
Many kings and leaders have been crowned in this church, and many greats have worshiped here. But one day, we will worship in a place more beautiful, and more satisfying to the heart, and to King who is the King of King’s and Lord of lords. “And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” -- Revelation 19:16

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