Images: Notre Dame Cathedral
Monday's fire that ravaged Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral, bringing down its spire and roof, struck during Holy Week. But even outside this key period in the Roman Catholic calendar, the cathedral draws visitors all year, some 12 million of them.
"Our Lady of Paris" also features pointed arches, a ribbed vault, two 225-feet-tall towers on the facade, and large, intricate rose windows made of stained glass.
The cathedral is central to French history and a beloved national symbol. Notre Dame's construction began in 1163 during the reign of King Louis VII and completed in 1345.
Nearly 100 years later, in 1431, Henry VI of England was crowned as the King of France there.
By the 17th century, the cathedral was in disrepair. But Napoleon saved it from demolition and had himself crowned Emperor there in 1804.
The cathedral is celebrated in Victor Hugo's novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame published in 1831.
The North Rose Window survived two world wars. During WWII, the stained glass was removed and installed again after the war had ended.
The 17th century organ was functional, at least before the fire and roof collapse.
President Emmanuel Macron pledged to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral.
"This history is ours," Macron said. "It is burning. I say to you very solemnly tonight, this cathedral, we will rebuild it."
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.