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We know when Notre Dame is scheduled to reopen. “She will be magnificent, shining with beauty and radiant with light”

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Five years ago, the world watched in helpless horror as one of the world's most precious and iconic monuments burned like a torch. Most of the walls of the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, which had survived several hundred years and numerous war turmoil, were burnt out after a few hours. The grand opening after the reconstruction is scheduled for December 8, and the celebration is expected to last over a week.

Work on the renovation of Notre-Dame Cathedral is progressing. The distinctive spire is regaining its shape five years after it collapsed during a fire.

Many Parisians, especially those who have admired the majesty of the cathedral every day for years, still find it difficult to talk about what happened on April 15, 2019. – I was just closing the stand. The day was ending. I saw smoke. At first I wasn't afraid, but then the smoke became much bigger. It was terrifying, recalls Laurence Alsina, who runs a stand near Notre-Dame. – I'm not a Christian, but it was a shock for me. I was afraid that the entire cathedral would collapse – admits Albert Cohen, a resident of Paris.

It was a shock for the whole world, which watched the fire live on news television. The Gothic Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Paris is the showcase of the capital of France, one of the most important temples of Christianity, an important part of the cultural heritage of all humanity, also thanks to Victor Hugo, who placed the temple at the center of the novel “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame”.

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About 500 workers and maintenance workers work on site every day

– This fire certainly showed the emotional attachment to the cathedral, first of all by Parisians, but also by all French people, and more broadly – outside France – in the international dimension – comments Father Patrick Chauvet, former rector of Notre-Dame Cathedral.

The reconstruction of the cathedral began in 2021. At first, it was necessary to remove over 200 tons of scaffolding melted by fire so that the entire temple structure did not collapse.

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About 500 workers and maintenance workers work on site every day. So far, half a billion euros have been spent on renovation, including public collections.

Controversy surrounding changes in the cathedral

The most controversial issue is the plan to introduce modern stained glass windows into the restored cathedral. This was announced by French President Emmanuel Macron. He wants the monument, which is a testimony to the styles of several eras, to also have room for a “trail of the 21st century”.

– This tragedy also has its good side. We have been able to carry out archaeological work that was not possible before and have made unique discoveries. Even when cleaning paintings, it was possible to discover elements that were previously covered with a layer of dirt. Today we have a broader idea of ​​what the cathedral once looked like, says Emma Roux, a stained glass artist who is working on the reconstruction of the cathedral.

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Contrary to President Macron's announcements, the cathedral will not be open to tourists and believers in the summer during the Olympic Games in Paris. You will have to wait a few extra months for the big celebration.

When will the cathedral be opened?

– The cathedral that we will discover on December 8 will be magnificent, shining with beauty and radiant with light. No one alive has ever seen her as we will see her then. We can only be happy and full of gratitude to all those who have been working on the renovation over the last five years, says Father Olivier Ribadeau Dumas, rector of Notre-Dame Cathedral.

SEE ALSO: A mysterious tunnel was discovered near a prison in Paris

The opening of the cathedral does not mean the end of all work there. These may last even until 2030. The great organ, altar, reliquaries and works of art, including paintings, will return to Notre-Dame in the fall. About one and a half thousand new chairs will be placed inside.

According to the rector of Notre-Dame, the Polish chapel in the cathedral, opened in 2018 on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of Poland regaining independence, has already been restored.

Author:Jakub Loska

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Main photo source: Reuters



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