Notre-Dame de Paris (French: [n?t?? dam d? pa?i] (listen); meaning'Our Lady of Paris'), known simply as Notre-Dame, is a medieval Catholic cathedral on the Île de la Cité in the 4th arrondissement of Paris. The cathedral was consecrated to the Virgin Mary and considered to be among the best examples of French Gothic architecture. Its pioneering use of the rib vault and flying buttress, its enormous and vibrant rose windows, in addition to the naturalism and prosperity of its sculptural decoration set it apart from the previous Romanesque style. Major components which make Notre Dame stand out include its large historic organ and its immense church bells.The cathedral's construction began in 1160 under Bishop Maurice de Sully and was mostly complete by 1260, although it was modified frequently in the next centuries. In the 1790s, Notre-Dame suffered desecration during the French Revolution; much of its religious imagery was damaged or destroyed. In the 19th century, the cathedral was the site of the coronation of Napoleon I and the funerals of several Presidents of the French Republic. Popular interest in the cathedral blossomed soon after the publication, in 1831, of Victor Hugo's book Notre-Dame de Paris (better known in English as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame). This led to a major restoration project between 1844 and 1864, supervised by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. The Allied liberation of Paris in 1944 was celebrated within Notre-Dame with the singing of the Magnificat. Beginning in 1963, the cathedral's façade was cleaned of centuries of soot and dirt. Another cleaning and restoration project was carried out between 1991 and 2000. The cathedral is one of the most widely recognized symbols of the city of Paris and the French state. As the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Paris, Notre-Dame comprises the cathedra of the Archbishop of Paris (Michel Aupetit). In 1805, Notre-Dame was given the honorary status of a minor basilica. Approximately 12 million people visit Notre-Dame annually, making it the most visited monument in Paris. The cathedral was famous for its Lent sermons, founded by the Dominican Jean-Baptiste Henri Lacordaire in the 1830s. In recent decades, a growing number have been awarded by leading public figures and state-employed professors. The cathedral has been progressively stripped of its original decoration and functions of art. Several notable examples of Gothic, Baroque, and 19th-century sculptures and a group of 17th- and early 18th-century altarpieces remain in the cathedral's collection. Some of the most important relics in Christendom, for example, Crown of Thorns, a sliver of the true cross and a nail from the true cross, are preserved at Notre-Dame. On 11 February 1931, Antonieta Rivas Mercado expired at the altar of Notre-Dame after shooting herself in the heart with a pistol stolen from her lover, Jose Vasconcelos.While undergoing renovation and restoration, the roof of Notre-Dame caught fire on the night of 15 April 2019. Burning for about 15 hours, the cathedral sustained serious damage, including the destruction of the flèche (the wood spirelet over the crossing) and the majority of the lead-covered wooden roof above the stone vaulted ceiling. Contamination of the site and the nearby environment resulted. After the fire, many proposals were made for modernizing the cathedral's design. But on 16 July 2019, the French Parliament passed a law requiring that it be rebuilt exactly as it appeared prior to the fire. Stabilizing the structure against potential collapse is expected to last until the end of 2020, with reconstruction beginning in 2021. The government of France expects the renovation can be completed by Spring 2024, in time for the opening of the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.Source: Wikipedia
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