Notre Dame Cathedral: 7 Interesting Facts You May Not Know
On Monday, April 15 2019, a catastrophic fire engulfed the 856-year-old Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. The flames destroyed the roof of the Cathedral, causing it’s spire to collapse.
Within hours of the end of the blaze, public funding efforts raised over $700 million dollars towards the rebuilding and repairing of the Cathedral.
Top photo credits: @saaggo & @philippe.wojazer
Here we explore the history of Notre Dame, and bring 7 interesting facts you may not know.
1. Notre Dame Was Sometimes Referred To As ‘The Forest’
The Cathedral of Notre Dame draws a nickname from some as ‘The Forest’. This is because in the roof of the cathedral there was some of the oldest surviving wood timber frames in Paris, involving over 210,000 square metres of trees cut down in the 12th century. Each beam was actually made from an individual tree too. Sadly, it was destroyed in the recent fire, you just can’t replace that sort of history unfortunately. (Photo credit Gigarama)
2. It Attracts More Tourists Than Anywhere Else In Europe
The Cathedral of Notre-Dame is the most popular monument in all of France and draws a larger crowd than anywhere else in Europe, even beating the Eiffel Tower! There are up to 14 million tourists and worshippers who visit every year, or 40,000 per day! That’s nearly 9 million more than the Sistine Chapel. (Photo credit depositphotos.com)
3. The Church Does Not Own It, The French Government Does
All churches built in the country before 1905 are actually owned by the French government. The Archdiocese of Paris is permitted to use the building for free and is responsible for the upkeep of the cathedral and all staffing needs. (Photo credit depositphotos.com)
4. The Towers Are Not Actually Twins
At first, Notre-Dame’s two towers appear to be twins, but if you look closely you’ll notice that the north tower is in fact larger than the south. (Photo credit depositphotos.com)
5. It Took Nearly Two Centuries To Complete Construction
Construction of The Cathedral of Notre-Dame began in 1163 and was finally completed in 1345,182 years later! (Photo credit depositphotos.com)
6. The Organ Is Said To Be The Largest In France
Made up of just about 8,000 pipes (of which some even date back to the 18th century), the Notre Dame organ is played with 5 keyboards. This makes it the biggest pipe organ in all of France. (Photo credit depositphotos.com)
7. It Was One Of The First To Use The Flying Buttress System
Even though this was not in the original plans, The Notre Dame Cathedral was one of the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress system. This ended up being designed due to the lack of stability within the height of the structure, as the walls were bowing outwards. (Photo credit depositphotos.com)