The Cathedral of Notre-Dame, where a large fire broke out Monday evening, is among the most famous landmarks in Paris, drawing about 13 million visitors a year.
The cathedral, whose name means Our Lady, is the seat of the archbishop of Paris.
When was Notre-Dame built?
The cathedral was built on a small island called the Île de la Cité, in the middle of the Seine. Construction began in 1163, during the reign of King Louis VII, and was completed in 1345. It is considered a jewel of medieval Gothic architecture.
It was damaged and neglected in the 1790s, during the French Revolution. Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel, Notre-Dame de Paris, published in English as The Hunchback of Notre Dame, informed readers about the building’s decrepit condition.
The book helped spur significant overhauls from 1844-64, when architects Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Lassus and Eugène Viollet-le-Duc redid the spire and flying buttresses.
What historical events took place there?
Henry VI of England was made king of France inside Notre-Dame in 1431.
Napoleon Bonaparte, who also sought to save the storied cathedral, was crowned emperor there in 1804.
In 1909, Joan of Arc, who had helped France battle the English and was burned at the stake centuries earlier, was beatified in the cathedral by Pope Pius X.