A divine week it was to Christians all over the world, as some observed the last days of Lent – a religious period of 40 days, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday, before Easter Sunday in the Christian calendar. It is in this period when, Catholics and some Protestants prepare for the holy week by fasting, praying and reconciling with the Lord. Many individuals converge at different destinations for the Easter celebrations, encouraging love and good deeds across the margins of the human race. Sadly on the purposed to be blessed week, some Parisians had to gather in the streets around a cathedral, observing flames of fire while weeping, some singing hymns and saying prayers while others simply standing in silence.
On Monday, April 15th, a major fire engulfed one of France’s most famous landmarks, the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, causing the collapse of the building’s spire and roof. The building was undergoing renovations that began after cracks had started appearing. Investigators have settled for two possible theories that could have been the cause of the tragic fire:
A short circuit near the building’s spire possibly caused by electrified bells.
Negligence by the workers carrying out renovations – this was concluded after the discovery of cigarette butts.
But not all was destroyed at the Notre-Dame, its main structure, including the two bell towers were saved. France’s minister of culture said that the cathedral’s “most precious treasures”, including what is said to be the crown worn by Jesus were saved.
The medieval, 850-year-old Gothic structure is a great symbol of France rivalling with great competition against the Eiffel Tower. The cathedral is said to receive circa 13 million visitors annually, more than the Eiffel Tower. But what is so fascinating about the building other than its ‘most precious treasures’? What is the cathedral’s ‘most precious treasures’? Here take a look at some of them:
Relics of Jesus Christ.
Notre-Dame has for Centuries been a home to relics from the Passion of Christ: a piece of cross, a nail and a crown of thorns said to have been worn by Jesus before he was crucified.
The cathedral also possess art pieces such as paintings, sculptures and textiles.It is said that the pieces date way back in the day and contribute greatly to the huge no of visitors at Notre-Dame. One of Notre-Dame’s famous feature is the ‘Gargoyles’ and ‘Grotesques’. The two stone sculptures featuring mythical creatures, have water spouts that carry rainwater off the building, although several have already been replaced by PVC pipes because the building’s wall has corroded.
The Rose Windows
Dating back to the 13th C, Notre-Dame’s three rose windows are among its most famous features. The first and smallest on the west facade, was finished circa1225.The south rose which is made of 84 panels, has a diameter of nearly 13m.
The Structure’s spire
The spire which underwent several changes before dates back to the 12th C. It was dismantles during the French Revolution and later rebuilt around 1860s. Its collapse during the recent fire tragedy is a great loss which the Royal Institute of British Architects terms as “An irreplaceable blow to the heritage of French Gothic architecture”.
As investigations are still undergoing to name the clear cause of the fire, French President Emmanuel Macron promises to have the structure rebuilt, “We’ll rebuild Notre-Dame together”. The government is devising a plan to help raise funds for Notre-Dame’s rebuilding and reconstruction.