Five years after the fire that nearly destroyed Notre Dame: before and after

Paris, April 15, 2019: A devastating fire burns down Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the symbols of the French capital. At 7:15 p.m., the fire alarm goes off for the first time. Half an hour later, the fire alarm goes off again. During the Restoration work is being carried out In the Gothic temple, while the workers were still at work, a fire broke out.

It was the entire structure of the cathedral Full of scaffolding It reaches a height of 100 meters to facilitate the reconstruction work of operators. The fire was easy to spread At high speed, although some can be saved Artistical works Which were present in the central naves as well as the sacred objects kept in the treasury, the debris was “huge”.

A photo from the day of the fire and what Notre Dame looks like now (Reuters):

After two hours of enduring the flames, the tower The cathedral tower ends up collapsingcollapses on the roof of the cathedral and causes a Downhill at the top of the flight. Parisians and thousands of tourists visiting the capital of the Seine River watched in disbelief as the flames swept through the roof of the cathedral and affected the tower.

Notre Dame, a Gothic cathedral Built between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, in the center of the Île de la Cité, surrounded by the waters of the Seine. From all over Paris you can see the column of thick black smoke coming out of the temple. Smoke brings to a halt the busy life of an ordinary evening in Paris.

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In a few hours darkness will fall over the city. Televisions around the world broadcast live how the fires of Notre Dame light up the Paris night and how Hundreds of firefighters struggle helplessly To save everything possible.

At around eleven o'clock at night, comes the good news that everyone wants to hear: The structure of Notre Dame was saved There is no risk of collapse. The people gathered around the police perimeter explode with joy and spontaneously begin singing the Hail Mary.

Solidarity wave

That same night, at the foot of the cathedral, the French President, Emmanuel Macrona promise Rebuilding Notre Dame And reopen it within five years.

When the ashes of Notre Dame were still smoking, the way was opened A wave of solidarity around the world. In just a few days it was achieved 850 million euros in donations To rebuild the cathedral. More than 400,000 donors Anonymous people, governments and improvised sponsors contributed money.

Everyone has begun work so that the temple can be opened to the public in 2024. For many, it was a pipe dream, but the current state of the works suggests that Macron's promise will be possible.

“Thanks to everyone's mobilization, we are making the seemingly crazy challenge of reopening it in 2024 a reality,” said Marilyn Geary, director of the authority coordinating the restoration work.

The scheduled reopening of Notre Dame Cathedral is October 8, the Day of the Immaculate Conception (Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes)

There is a specific date on the calendar: December 8, Day of the Immaculate Conception. The date that will culminate in a very special year for France, marked by the celebration of Olympic Games in Paris And by 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings. Three events that Emmanuel Macron is exploiting to create a sense of national unity in the face of political division and to remind of the greatness of France.

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Restore Notre Dame Cathedral as it was

In these five years, craftsmen from all over the country allowed Notre Dame Cathedral to restore its wooden roof. To do that Hundreds of oak trees were cut down From all over the country it has been done As did the master carpenters of the Middle Ages. All that remains is a small, exposed hole through which the impressive scaffolding that was built to rebuild the tower designed by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century can be seen.

The main person responsible for the restoration confirms that the “most important” work has already been completed. He points out that thanks to the redesign, the interior of the temple has been restored You'll look “more gorgeous than ever” Because the stone has cleaned and lightened the walls “It reflects an extraordinary light.”.

A big improvement: Notre Dame will be counted With modern fire fighting system To ward off the fear that another spark will threaten one of the jewels of Paris and the entire world.

If all goes as planned, on December 8th, the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris will proudly reopen and show all the splendor with which it was created and is expected to transcend time.

A night view of cranes and scaffolding during the reconstruction of the Paris Cathedral (Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes)

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