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Why a trip to Paris is incomplete without visiting the iconic Notre Dame church

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The images and videos of France’s most iconic churches, engulfed in fire, are still fresh in our minds.

Seeped in history and a glorious past, the magnificent church, Notre Dame de Paris (Our Lady of Paris), burned for eight hours before the fire could be controlled. It left not just Parisians but the whole world in shock and disbelief.

Here are some important facts attached to this monumental building, which is not just a church but an important landmark in French history.

Notre Dame de Paris, meaning ‘Our Lady of Paris’, is one of the oldest surviving Roman Catholic churches in the world and one of the earliest examples of Gothic architecture in Europe.

The construction started in 1160 under the authority of Bishop Maurice de Sully,  but was finally finished in 1260, with modifications over the centuries.

The building is about 130 metres high with a width of 48 metres. According to Notre Dame’s website, its towers stand 220 feet tall and the building is more than 400 feet long.

The central spire of the Cathedral was added during the Cathedral’s restoration in the 19th century.

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It has many historical events attached to it. In 1431, when Henry VI of England was crowned King of France, he ordered for the ceremony to happen here.

The Notre-Dame Cathedral complete 850 years in 2013. La Poste, in January 2013, issued a block of two stamps to celebrate this event.

Victor Hugo, one of France’s greatest novelists, published the novel ‘The Hunchback of Notre-Dame’ in 1831, after the church’s name.

Many sculptures and decorations were destroyed during the anti-religious violence of the French Revolution. However, they were restored by the acclaimed French architect, Eugène Viollet-le-Duc.

The wooden frames used in the construction of the cathedral consist of 1,300 oak trees that effectively sum up to more than 21 hectares of forest.

Around 13 million people visit Notre Dame Cathedral every year, making it one of the most seen sites in Paris.

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