Our Lady of Paris - Centuries of history burned in Notre Dame fire

By Kawe Roes

PHOTO: @benbarnes

Our Lady of Paris - Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral is burning.  Firefighters have been battling the blaze, which is being treated as an accident at this stage, according to the Paris prosecutors' office.

While unconfirmed, the fire is believed to have started during restoration work of the historic cathedral.  Despite the damage, the main structure has been saved.

French president Emmanuel Macron has already pledged to rebuild the historic site, "...Notre-Dame cathedral, we will rebuild it.  All together.  It's part of our French destiny.  I commit myself:  tomorrow a national subscription will be launched, and well beyond our borders."

World leaders have come out in support the French people across social media, with former president of the USA Barack Obama saying "We’re thinking of the people of France in your time of grief".

The cathedral was largely completed in 1260 and represents the heart and history of France.  A Catholic cathedral built In the French Gothic style, Notre-Dame was built on an ancient site of Celtic worship and also a later Roman temple.

Notre-Dame was plundered during the French Revolution (1793) and its statues of biblical kings were ‘beheaded’ after being mistaken for French rulers.  The statues can still be seen in the structure.

It was the site of the Coronation of Napolean in 1804 and famously, the setting of Victor Hugo’s 1830 novel ‘The Hunchback of Notre-Dame’. 

Around 13 million people visit the site annually, more than double the people who visit the Eiffel Tower.