Thursday, 21 May 2015

Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris a Self Guide

The city of Paris’ cathedral Notre Dame ranks as one of the greatest achievements of Gothic architecture in the world. Notre Dame was begun in 1163 and completed around 1345, taking over 170 years; the massive interior can accommodate over 6000 worshippers.

Although Notre Dame is regarded as a sublime architectural achievement, there are all sorts of minor anomalies as a result of the different architects who worked on the cathedral. Some of these anomalies include the trio of main entrances that are each shaped differently from the other. The flying buttresses that were added to the design under the eighth builder, they were built around the choir in about 1350 when stress cracks began to appear in the walls as they grew higher, and the Rose Windows; the North and South Rose windows in the transepts are noticeably larger then that of the Western Rose Window.

The three spectacular and enormous Rose Windows dominate the interior. The Western Rose Window is directly over the main portal and depicts the Virgin, whom the Cathedral is dedicated, surrounded by figures of the Old Testament and zodiacal symbols and was completed in 1225 and measures 10 meters in diameter and was the largest ever attempted at its time of construction. The Southern Rose Window lies over the Southern Portal of the transept, as that of the Northern Rose Window in the North transept, rises over 13 meters, (43 Feet) in height or a staggering 19 meters if you include the bays in which they sit and were completed by 1270, 50 years later then the Western Rose Window. The larger windows are a direct result of improved technology and building techniques that changed over the 50 years from the completion of the Western Rose Window.
The Northern Rose window is considered to be the most splendid of the three as it has much of its original glass and also depicts The Virgin. The Southern Rose Window is dedicated to Jesus and the New Testament, though with two major restorations much of the original glass is gone and the missing and broken medallions were put back in the spirit of overall authenticity rather then accuracy.

From the base of the north tower of the western façade, visitors can climb to the roof top level of the cathedral to access a close view of the cathedral's many gargoyles on the Galerie des Chimere

The western façade, above the three main portals has a row of twenty-eight statues, the Galerie de Rois, depicting the Kings of Judea, from whom Christ was descended. During medieval times these were painted brilliant colours. In the French Revolution the crowds pulled these statues down, mistakenly thinking that they represented French kings. They were restored in the mid 19th century. Above the Gallery, in the center, over the center portal, is a statue of the Virgin and Child with two angles flanking them; on the far left, over the left portal, is a statue of Adam and the far right side over the right portal is a statue of Eve. The whole work symbolizes the Redemption of Man after the Fall of Man.

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