Summary
Notre-Dame de Paris (nɔtʁ(ə) dam də paʁi; meaning "Our Lady of Paris"), referred to simply as Notre-Dame, is a medieval Catholic cathedral on the Île de la Cité (an island in the Seine River), in the 4th arrondissement of Paris, France. The cathedral, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. Several attributes set it apart from the earlier Romanesque style, particularly its pioneering use of the rib vault and flying buttress, its enormous and colourful rose windows, and the naturalism and abundance of its sculptural decoration. Notre-Dame also stands out for its three pipe organs (one historic) and its immense church bells. Built during medieval France, construction of the cathedral began in 1163 under Bishop Maurice de Sully and was largely completed by 1260, though it was modified in succeeding centuries. In the 1790s, during the French Revolution, Notre-Dame suffered extensive desecration; much of its religious imagery was damaged or destroyed. In the 19th century, the coronation of Napoleon I and the funerals of many of the French Republic's presidents took place at the cathedral. The 1831 publication of Victor Hugo's novel Notre-Dame de Paris (in English: The Hunchback of Notre-Dame) inspired interest which led to restoration between 1844 and 1864, supervised by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. On 26 August 1944, the Liberation of Paris from German occupation was celebrated in Notre-Dame with the singing of the Magnificat. Beginning in 1963, the cathedral's façade was cleaned of centuries of soot and grime. Another cleaning and restoration project was carried out between 1991 and 2000. The cathedral is a widely recognized symbol of the city of Paris and the French nation. In 1805, it was awarded honorary status as a minor basilica. As the cathedral of the archdiocese of Paris, Notre-Dame contains the cathedra of the archbishop of Paris (Laurent Ulrich). In the early 21st century, approximately 12 million people visited Notre-Dame annually, making it the most visited monument in Paris.
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