It is so tragic when historical monuments are destroyed, being from pure accidents or from cruel acts of history-challenged religious fanatics. Art and structures are a way to understand the past and, based on that, create a better and more informed future. Up through the ages all religions have something to answer to when it comes to demolition of history, but in these enlightened days, we really should know better.
I am so happy that I for instance visited the Museum of Cairo before looters destroyed mummies and smashed artifacts in 2011. I am also very happy that I, even if this was an accident during repairs, was able to visit the beautiful cathedral of Notre Dame before it went up in flames.
Even if I am a full bred atheist, I do respect all religions and I am always interested in learning more about their ways. A part of understanding the different religions is to look back to the past in the form of written material, art and holy places, and I much enjoy visiting cathedrals, churches, mosques, temples and shrines in the quest of knowledge and perhaps inner peace.
Notre Dame a medieval Catholic cathedral in Paris and is considered to be the one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. It was largely completed in 1260 after 100 years of construction and has inspired both writers and poets up through the ages, with the famous “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, something that contributed to making Notre Dame the most visited monument in Paris (wikipedia).
So, what momentous events have taken place in Notre Dame? Well, according to the New York Times Henry VI of England was made king of France inside Notre-Dame in 1431. Furthermore, Napoleon Bonaparte, who also sought to save the storied cathedral, was crowned emperor there in 1804. In 1909, Joan of Arc, who had helped France battle the English and was burned at the stake centuries earlier, was beatified in the cathedral by Pope Pius X. The cathedral was also home to the crown of thorns and the tunic of Saint Louis, both of which apparently made it safely out of the fire and to Paris City Hall, according to Franck Riester, France’s culture minister. The crown of thorns is believed to be the same that Jesus Christ wore during the crucifixion. It was first housed at the Ste. Chapelle in Ile de la Cité, but then moved to Notre Dame.
After the fire that broke out on the 15th of April 2019 was put out, president Macron stated that it would be restored back to its former glory. He had hoped for it to be ready by the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024, but architects expect the work could take from 20 to 40 years. (Wikipedia).
So lots of both medieval and contemporary history in this magnificent cathedral. It is currently closed due to the fire and there is no information about when it would be opened for visitors again, but hopefully they will find a way to stabilize the structure so that the new generations can enjoy it as well.