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Explained: History behind Notre Dame- Soul of the French nation

  • Paris was struck in its very heart as flames devastated the roof of Notre-Dame, the medieval cathedral made famous by Victor Hugo.

Importance of Notre-Dam

  • The iconic cathedral has been deeply enmeshed in Paris’s history since construction began at the end of the 12th century; historians generally ascribe the date 1163 and lasted more than two centuries to 1345.
  • For French Catholics it has particular resonance, as the resting place of the crown of thorns believed to have been placed on Jesus’ head before his crucifixion.
  • For centuries France’s kings and queens were married and buried there.
  • Its massive tenor bell announced the liberation of the city from Nazi control on August 24, 1944, ending the dark years under German rule in World War II.
  • Napoleon was crowned emperor in Notre-Dame in 1804, and the joyous thanksgiving ceremony after the Liberation of Paris in 1944 took place there, led by Charles de Gaulle.
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