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Notre-Dame de Paris

Posted September. 01, 2017 07:20,   

Updated September. 01, 2017 07:26


Cite is a boat-shaped island in the Seine in the middle of Paris. There is a cathedral attracting 14 million visitors a year in the center of Paris. It is Notre-Dame. It means Saint Mary as it is a combination of two words – our (notre) and lady (dame). The stained-glass rose window with a diameter of 9.6 meters and the twin 69-meter bell tower represent the classical Gothic architecture.

Notre-Dame, which was built for 192 years from 1163, has witnessed historical events. It saw the trial of Joan d’Arc who was burn to death for being guilty of witchcraft in 1455 and the wedding of Marguerite & Henri IV in 1572. It suffered even more during the French Revolution in 1789 when reason mattered more than religion. All of the 28 statues of Jewish kings on the three entrance gates and bells were taken down and shattered into pieces.

It was Victor Hugo’s "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame," which made Notre-Dame wake from a deep sleep. Notre-Dame, the background of the sad love story of Esmeralda, a Gypsy woman, and Quasimodo, a hunchback, represented a world where all people are equal. In the wake of the popularity of the novel, Notre-Dame was renovated from 1844 to 1870.

The archbishop of Paris started a 100 million-euro fundraising drive to renovate the cathedral. Notre-Dame said, “As gargoyles and gothic arches are crumbling, our cathedral needs an urgent restoration.” It remains to be seen how the cathedral, which Hugo called the "great symphony of stones," will be renovated in 147 years.

Su-Jin Cho jin0619@donga.com