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  • You are standing at the Notre Dame de Paris, the famous French cathedral. Notre Dame de Paris is widely

  • considered one of the very finest examples in world of French Gothic architecture, and

  • by looking at the cathedral; I think you can understand why. The name Notre Dame is something

  • not specific to this grand cathedral. The phrase means "our lady" with a direct reference

  • to the Virgin Mary, and is widely used all over France as a name for churches and cathedrals.

  • Even though the full name of these masterpieces is Notre Dame de Paris, many people just refer

  • to it as the Notre Dame. The planning of a new, grand cathedral in

  • Paris began in 1160. It was the newly appointed bishop of Paris, Maurice de Sully, who ordered

  • the construction of a new cathedral. In order to make place for it, the bishop had the old

  • church demolished together with several other houses. A new road was also constructed in

  • order to bring material to the construction site. Construction of the cathedral itself

  • began in 1163, when either Maurice de Sully or Pope Alexander III laid the foundation stone. Who

  • actually laid the first piece of this masterpiece is still under debate, but it is documented

  • that both the bishop and the pope was attending the ceremony in question.

  • The cathedral consists of two parts; the western side is the main entrance with the two bell

  • towers while the eastern side is the main hall and choir. During the construction, focus

  • was on building the eastern part first. That way the cathedral could still be utilized

  • by putting up a temporary western wall while the rest of the western parts were being built.

  • Construction of the choir took place between 1163 and 1177and the new high altar was finished

  • 1182. Maurice de Sully never got to see the cathedral complete, as he died in 1196. His

  • successor, Eudes de Sully, continued the work and began construction of the western entrance

  • before his own death in 1208. The western entrance stood completed in when the South tower was

  • finished in 1250, but the building itself was not entirely completed until 1345 as details

  • were added and changed for the last 100 years. Thus, in total this masterpiece took almost

  • 180 years to complete. In 1793, the cathedral was damaged during

  • the French Revolution. Many sculptures and treasures were plundered or destroyed. One

  • example of this is The Gallery of Kings. This is a row of twenty-eight statues representing

  • twenty-eight generations of kings of Judah, which can be seen just above the main gates.

  • However, after the kings' installation in the 13th century, they quickly became familiar

  • representations of the kings of France and from 1284 onwards, they were presented in

  • this way. During the troubled time of the Revolution, these statues were attacked and

  • beheaded as they were seen as symbols of the royal tyranny. These were later restored when

  • the church underwent restoration work during the 19th century. The restorations lasted

  • 23 years, and it was during this period that the spire which you can see today was erected.

  • Today, the cathedral houses a total of five bells in its bell towers; one grand bell and

  • five smaller. By smaller I mean that they weigh between two and three tons, so they

  • are only small when compared to the big bell. The big bell is known as "Emmanuel" and weighs

  • 13 tons. It is located in the south tower and it is rung for major holidays such as Christmas,

  • Easter, all Saints' days and other important events. The smaller bells ring every hour

  • to indicate the time. Notre Dame de Paris truly has an amazing outside,

  • decorated with hundreds of gargoyles and statues, each telling their own story. Especially interesting

  • to many is the gates, which stories I will give you now.

  • The main gate you can see in the middle portrays the meeting with the Lord and the last judgment.

  • You will also see an angel and a devil with a scale in between. This symbolizes all the

  • good deeds and the bad deeds people have done through their lives and the tilt of the scale

  • decides where the people end up; in either heaven or hell. If you look closely, you will

  • see how the people on the left side of the scale happily looks up towards the sky, where

  • as the right ones are sad looking as they have to follow the devil. The right gate,

  • known as The Portal of St. Anne, displays the story of the marriage of Joachim and Anne

  • and the marriage of Mary and Joseph as well as scenes from Christ's arrival on earth.

  • The left gate is known as The Portal of the Virgin. Above the door, you will see the three

  • prophets on the left and three Old Testament kings on the right, holding phylacteries showing

  • that God's promise has been fulfilled; Jesus has come to save humanity. Above that you

  • can see Mary on her death bed, surrounded by Jesus and the twelve Apostles. You can

  • also see two angels, lifting up her shroud and taking her to Heaven. On the top you can

  • see Mary in Heaven, crowned the Queen of Heaven by an angel while being blessed by Jesus.

  • If you choose to go up in the towers, which I can highly recommend as the view is great,

  • you will get a closer look at the gargoyles and chimeras. While the statues have a decorative

  • purpose, they also have a practical purpose as some of them are used as drainpipes. Many

  • of the grotesque figures have a passageway inside that carries rainwater from the roof

  • and out through the gargoyle's mouth. The gargoyles were also believed to protect the

  • cathedral against evil spirits. The classical chimeras you can see surrounding the two towers

  • were however not in the original cathedral, but they were added later during the 19th

  • century restoration. While the outside of the Notre Dame is amazing,

  • the inside is just as beautiful. Inside you will find spiritual statues, magnificent paintings

  • and breathtaking stained glass windows. Many of the old church windows also tell a story,

  • with each part of the window telling a part of the story, almost like a modern cartoon.

  • Most breathtaking are the three rose windows, which all date back to 13th century. Although

  • they have received some restoration work during the years, the windows you can see today are

  • very much true to what the windows looked like in the 13th century. Quite amazing.

  • Even though the cathedral is the obvious point of focus, there are some surrounding places

  • and monuments that are worth noting. If you look at the cathedrals front, you will see

  • a large statue to your right. The inscription reads "Charlemagne et ses levdes", meaning

  • Carlemagne and his noble servants. Carlemagne, also known as Charles the Great, was the great

  • Frankish king during the 8th century who helped define the Western Europe we know today through

  • his conquering. The statue is not as old as the Notre Dame itself, as the statue was created

  • in 1886 by Louis and Charles Rochet. Another interesting little detail can be found

  • in the pavement, in front of the cathedral. If you look around you should see a circular

  • marking, saying "Pointro - des routes des France" meaning "Point Zero -- the roads

  • of France". This is the location where all distances are traditionally measured. Many

  • countries have there so called "Kilometer Zero"-points, and France's point happens to

  • be right here. The marking is also considered to be the official centre of the city of Paris.

You are standing at the Notre Dame de Paris, the famous French cathedral. Notre Dame de Paris is widely

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B1 cathedral notre notre dame dame de sully

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    阿多賓 posted on 2014/01/24
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