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Macron vows to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral within five years

Macron vows to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral within five years

Posted April. 18, 2019 07:47,   

Updated April. 18, 2019 07:47


A day after an inferno raged through Notre Dame Cathedral, French President Emmanuel Macron announced in a nationally televised address that he wants to see it rebuilt “more beautiful than before” within five years. “The fire at Notre Dame reminds us that our history never stops and we will always have challenges to overcome,” Macron said on Tuesday night. But he also suggested that he would not push too hard for the cathedral’s restoration. The White House said that President Donald Trump telephoned the French president to offer his condolences over the disaster.

Parisians gathered in downtown areas, singing hymns and praying. BBC reported that hundreds of people attended a mass at the Church of Saint-Sulpice, just one kilometer away from Notre Dame, with citizens encouraging one another to unite. French corporations including the LVMH luxury goods group, have already donated more than 800 million euros to restoring the cathedral.

The inside of the cathedral revealed to the public looked horrible. The glass inside the church was marred, and debris were piled up on the floor. Emily Guerry, a senior lecturer in Medieval European history at Britain’s University of Kent, told CBS News that the restoration work could take 20 to 40 years. UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said restoring Notre Dame “will last a long time and cost a lot of money.” Fortunately, the meticulous work of Andrew Tallon, architecture historian at Vassar College who used still photography and laser technology to create an intricate three-dimensional reconstruction of Notre Dame before he died last year, is expected to help restore the cathedral.

The first step to restoration is debris disposal. As some of the debris can be used for reconstruction, they should be handled with extreme care as if at an archaeological excavation site. It is not easy to secure safe work space amid the piles of debris. If safety of the site is confirmed, experts from around the world can create a large restoration team. The Guardian newspaper reported that experts in construction, stone materials and stained glass will gather in Paris over the next several weeks.

Ji-Sun Choi aurinko@donga.com