Architecturally, the Cathedral of Notre Dame of Paris spanned the age of endurance to the era of transcendence. Begun in 1163 when the sturdy Romanesque style demanded chunky columns and low slung arches, it flowered into the Gothic eventually soaring 115 feet off the ground.

This new building style looked to give the impression of airiness to stone, and in Notre Dame builders developed their finest architectural tool to achieve this effect, the flying buttress.

These slender tendrils of stone formed a cascade of curls around the exterior of the apse, allowing the interior to be given over to windows, filled with a mosaic of colored glass.

Visitors who have fled the crush around the main entrance to the quiet garden in the back have been able to enjoy the privileged view of these dazzling structures, carved to look as delicate as lace. The engineering achievement was best admired from inside however, as the darker nave with its heavy blocks of stone opened into a radiant sanctuary bathed in luminous hues.

In the early days the cathedral was dubbed “the forest” since it took 50 acres of forest to build the enormous roof. Timbers and beams hidden under the high ribbed vaults continued the effect of loftiness in the church. Hidden, until today. The forest fire that ravaged the cathedral of Notre Dame burnt away dense layers of history, good, bad, ugly and beautiful piled up as ashes on the ground.

Read more at New York Post. 

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