On Monday, April 15, the famed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France went up in flames. The iconic structure was completed in the 13th century, and has stood in the heart of Île de la Cité, for 856 years. It is one of the most famous Gothic cathedrals on the Middle Ages, known for its great size, it stands at 226 feet tall, and its great history, the rose window glasses still contain the glass from the 13th century.
The building itself, located at 6 Parvis Notre-Dame – Pl. Jean-Paul II, is not just a church, but a symbol of great architecture. Ordered to be built by Maurice de Sully, the Bishop of Paris, in 1160, Notre Dame continues to draw nearly 13 million visitors from around the world a year. As of press time, it’s not known whether or not the fire was caused by arson, or if anyone was injured.
It’s not secret that the Notre Dame Cathedral has been in need of repairs. “Pollution is the biggest culprit,” Philippe Villeneuve, architect in chief of historic monuments in France, said to TIME in 2017. “We need to replace the ruined stones. We need to replace the joints with traditional materials. This is going to be extensive.”
It was noted that if an influx of money was not given to help repair the iconic cathedral, that it could be deemed unsafe for visitors, and The Ministry of Culture gave it $2.28 million a year for that purpose. But the Notre Dame Cathedral staff said that wasn’t enough money, as it only covered basic repairs, and that the church needed far more work to save it from ruin.
The Notre Dame Cathedral was almost destroyed by Napoleon during the French Revolution, and went through a heavy restoration by architect E.E. Viollet-le-duc in the 1850s.
Paris Mayer Anne Hidalgo tweeted “A terrible fire is underway at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The fire brigade are trying to control the fire. We are mobilized locally in close connection with church authorities. I ask everyone to respect the security perimeter.”