Destination List > Notre Dame
The Notre Dame de Paris is also called the Notre Dame Cathedral. Its name really means Our Lady of Paris. It took almost 200 years for the church to be completely built. The groundbreaking took place in 1163 and it wasn’t finished until 1345, more than 650 years ago. It is one of the most well-known churches in the entire world and is very much admired by architects.
The reason why architects like the Notre Dame so much is because it was one of the first buildings in the world to use a flying buttress. A flying buttress is roof support that arches away from a building and looks pretty. Because of all the large and fragile windows on large stone churches, buttress, or supports, were needed to keep the roof from caving in. A flying buttress was pretty but also very strong. The Cathedral is also covered with chimera statues, or gargoyles. They look like monsters and mythical beasts. Some of them look like dragons, others like goats, and some even like monkeys.
One of the things that makes the Notre Dame so special is that it has a reliquary in its treasury. A reliquary is a group of items that are very important. In the Notre Dame, these items are important to the Catholic Church because they are believed to have belonged or been important to Jesus Christ. One of those items is the Crown of Thorns which Jesus was said to wear while carrying the cross. Another relic is what is believed to be a piece of the cross Jesus was crucified on, as well as one of the nails that held Jesus to the cross.
Recently, on April 15, 2019, Notre Dame was severly damaged by a fire. The president of France, Emmanuel Macron, has vowed to have it rebuilt in 5 years. This is an ambitious schedule. We hope that it comes true so we can visit the inside of the cathedral again soon.