Notre-Dame cathedral, in Paris, France, was ravaged by fire on April 15. The building’s spire and most of its wooden roof were destroyed. But the cathedral remained standing when the blaze was put out. Its famous bell towers and much of its inside were spared.
Construction on Notre-Dame began in the 12th century. It is a Roman Catholic church. It is also an architectural treasure, a French landmark, and a tourist attraction. Some 13 million people visit Notre-Dame each year.
“It’s the very soul of Paris, but it’s not just for French people,” said Barbara Drake Boehm. She’s with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York. “For all humanity, it’s one of the great monuments to the best of civilization.”
Authorities believe the fire was an accident. Some 500 firefighters battled the blaze. About a hundred of them worked to save as many art and religious objects as possible.
The rescued pieces include a crown of thorns believed to have been worn by Jesus. Notre-Dame’s famous stained-glass windows and pipe organ also survived.
French president Emmanuel Macron promised to rebuild. Donors have pledged nearly $1 billion for restoration.