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HISTORY IN FLAMES

The French Cathedral, The Notre Dame, Devastated By Fire

May 28, 2019

The oldest symbol of beauty and history, the Notre Dame cathedral has been scarred by a devastating fire that erupted in the 850 year old building. An electrical circuit has been ruled as the cause of the fire. It took nine hours and over 400 firefighters to get the blaze under control. Most blame the outdated fire-prevention safeguards for the blaze. The attic, also known as “the forest”, was the most fragile area of the cathedral, and most believe this is where the fire began. “There had been a systematic refusal to install anything electrical” within “the forest” because of the risk of tampering with the

New York Times Photo

historical accuracy, said Pierre Housieaux, President of the Paris Historical Association. “Everyone knew that the attic was the most fragile part.”

As reconstruction of the famed Notre Dame begins, French teacher, Mrs. Medina, has taken it upon herself to teach her students exactly what the cathedral was and what it meant to the world. “We watched a video about the history of the Cathedral and we saw pictures. I wanted them to understand that this loss has not only affected religion, but also art and history. Notre Dame is part of the history of France, not only Paris,” Medina stated.

“The focus of this class [since the fire, has been] about the different artifacts located in Notre Dame and the buildings’ historical significance,” first year French student, Max Ackerman, stated. 

The cathedral was home to many famous art pieces. Among those saved from the fire were the famous Holy Crown of Thorns and the tunic of St. Louis. Some historical pieces were not as lucky, and were lost in the fire, including the famous spire located on top of the building. “I have learned that this building has been a part of history for over 800 years. This

building had thousands of daily visitors from all around the world and the loss of this building is a major loss for all,” third-year French student, Katie Keegan, stated.

Brands such as Gucci and Yves have made donations to help rebuild the cathedral, along with many of France’s richest

families. French citizens including French President, Emmanuel Macron, hoped for the Notre Dame to be ready in time for the 2024 Olympics located in Paris. Despite the large sum of donations pouring in, many architects have said the historical site could take up to two decades to rebuild properly.  Initial construction on Notre-Dame began in 1163 and was not completed until 1345, so this timeline is seems realistic.“It has been a while since the fire and I think people in other parts of the world have moved on. Maybe it has impacted more of us who have visited it and the Christian community- Catholics in particular,” Medina said. 

The rebuilding of the beautiful representation of gothic architecture will take a lot of time and dedication from the French government, and the world has already pledged its sup-port. Indians’s own Notre Dame University has donated a generous sum to the rebuilding of the cathedral, as well as multiple American billionaires.

Information provided by The New York Times and CNN.

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