A catastrophic fire has engulfed Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, gutting and destroying the landmark’s spire, and stunning France and the world. Flames that began in the early evening burst through the roof of the centuries-old cathedral and engulfed the spire, which collapsed, quickly followed by the entire roof.
However a French official and the Paris fire chief said they thought the iconic towers had been saved from the fire, and authorities said the cathedral’s structure was “saved from total destruction”.
In honour of the great old Dame, we thought we’d give you a bit of a look into the spectacular cathedral and its iconic gargoyles.
Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris is celebrated as one of the most exquisite examples of Gothic architecture. Constructed in the Middle Ages, the church has welcomed worshippers and sightseers for centuries, inspiring awe with its sky-high spires, ethereal stained glass windows, and spell-binding sculptures.
Among carved depictions of holy figures like saints and prophets, the cathedral’s exterior also features a menagerie of grotesques, stone creatures intended to protect the church from malevolent spirits. When these statues double as waterspouts, they’re known as gargoyles—though the popular term is often mistakenly applied to the entire grotesque family.
The grotesques of Notre-Dame, for example, include both functioning gargoyles and a curious collection of decorative sculptures called chimera. While the latter do not drain water, they’ve come to be known as “gargoyles,” and are arguably the cathedral’s most famous feature.