Curriculum Resources
History in the Headlines
The Church in Medieval Life

On April 15, 2019, a massive fire broke out at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, destroying significant portions of the structure. Although firefighters were able to salvage the building, the cathedral's wooden ceiling and iconic spire were completely consumed in the blaze. The world mourned the damage to the historic treasure, and responded quickly: less than two full days after the fire, close to $1 billion had already been pledged toward the restoration effort.

Notre-Dame's storied history as a cultural and religious landmark helps to explain the reaction to its burning. The cathedral is considered to be a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, a style that originated in medieval France. The rise of Gothic architecture in religious places to create grander spaces to worship, like Notre Dame, testifies to the powerful role of the...

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