Notre-Dame inferno: a history of Paris’s most-visited landmark

Firefighters are tackling a major blaze at the historic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

Tuesday, 16th April 2019, 11:14 am
Updated Tuesday, 16th April 2019, 11:19 am

One of the city’s oldest and most recognisable buildings, work began on Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral in 1163.

The original structure was completed nearly 200 years later, in 1345, and its name literally translates to “Our Lady of Paris”.

A man watches the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral burn, engulfed in flames, in central Paris on April 15, 2019. (Photo by Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT / AFP)

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Some 13 million people now visit the Catholic landmark every year - more than 30,000 every day on average - according to its official website, and it is believed to be the most visited structure in the French capital.

The first stone of the original structure was laid in front of Pope Alexander III after the Bishop of Paris, Maurice de Sully, proposed the cathedral after his election in 1160.

It grew iconic in popular culture through several artistic works, including the Victor Hugo novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which was published in 1831 and adapted by Disney in 1996.

The cathedral also houses a beehive over the sacristy, which was added in spring 2013.

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