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The revenge of the Hunchback. Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral  

OCTOBER 29, 2019 5 min. read
The revenge of the Hunchback. Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral   

April 15, 2019. Notre-Dame Church burned. The witness of a great history turned into ashes. The tears and prayers of the inhabitants of Paris could not save it. The church, which was completed by 200 years, justified Janna Dark, crowned Napoleon, remained in flames for hours. Notre Dame burned. All church bells in Paris rang in honor of the Cathedral.

 

In the 19th century, the Cathedral was facing a threat of demolition. The church, a symbol of royal authority during the Paris Revolution, was subjected to attacks, fire, and began to be used as a grocery store. In the meantime, to draw attention to the church, Hugo wrote the famous "Notre-Dame Paris" novel in 1831. The ingenious transfer of France's current events and political consciousness to historical motives in a gothic style made the work gaining popularity. As a result, the church survived the threat of collapse, and even restoration works started. 

 

When was the Paris Notre-Dame Church built?

The construction of Notre-Dame de Paris or Church of the Virgin Mary began in the center of Paris in 1163 under the order of VII Louis and was completed in 1345. Of course, the construction of the Cathedral in such a long time was felt in its architectural style. Nevertheless, it was generally accepted as an example of gothic style architecture, and its construction was completed in several stages.

The first phase of construction covers 1163-1250s. During these years, the structure of the church was wholly completed. The building of the choir and two ambulatories, nave, corridors, tributaries, the facade, and the two towers, as well as waterways, belong to this period.

The second stage is the design and decoration of the church (1250- mid of the fourteenth century). The transept portals constructed in the Roman style are modified because they contradict the gothic style. During the Renaissance, the gothic style was considered a barbarian culture, and the church began to be designed in the Baroque style. Baroque-style sculptures replace Altar, cenotaphs (symbolic empty graves).

The most striking views of the church's original architectural style are "rose windows," which are 13 meters wide. These windows on both sides of the transept are the first in Europe by size.

 

Church Restoration

As I mentioned earlier, the church was facing the threat of demolition during the French Revolution. After the danger was over, the church's restoration work began. The famous sculptors did the renovation of the sculptures. However, after that, the Paris Commune decides to demolish the church. They tried to burn the church, but they could not damage to the monument. In 1965 another major restoration was made. At this time, the used parts of the "rose windows" were replaced with stained glass parts. Fifteen shades of blue and red changing from west to east were used during the overhaul. In 1990, restoration work was done through laser and micro compressors to whiten facade stones without damaging the Cathedral.

 

Anniversary preparations

In connection with the 850th Anniversary of Notre Dame Paris, large-scale preparatory work began in 2013. It was also the steps taken to prepare the church for the 21st century. Thus, for the first time in 2013, the giant organ was transferred to a computerized control system. The church was provided with electricity.

 

Great fire

During the 850 years, the Cathedral has survived many of the fires, attacks, and two world wars in history. However, the Paris Notre Dame Church, unfortunately, left in flames with the fire started at 18:20 on April 15, 2019. Notre-Dame burned in front of Paris and the whole world. The fire that started from the roof of the church spread over a large area for 8 hours. The most massive tower (96 meters) was ash in the fire. Although the church became useless after the fire, the central part of the Cathedral and the north bell tower were able to escape the fire. Although nearly 500 firefighters were involved, the entire roof of the church collapsed. Paris city prosecutor Remy Heitz said the fire had been accidentally and not committed deliberately. At that time, repair works which cost 6 million Euros were implemented on the cracks in the walls of the church. French President Emmanuel Macron said the situation was serious, and postponing the action against the "yellow vests" came to the scene of the accident. After the fire, he retained in memories with his speech: "Notre-Dame is the place where our history, our literature, our wars, and our freedom struggle occurred. As every citizen of my country, I am sorry to see how a piece of history burned this evening. Eight hundred years ago, we built and raised this Cathedral. Tonight, I am saying with assurance that we will rebuild it." Of course, after this speech, relief companies for the Notre-Dame Church began. The famous French billionaire Pinault family, prominent cosmetics companies, millionaires, and many more rose for Notre Dame. This mobilization should be understood as a struggle for French history. This monument, which has become a symbol of Paris for more than eight centuries, is a history for the French. Donations for the repair of the memorial attracting more than 10 million tourists every year were sent from all over the world. Everyone has united for the Cathedral, which once was protected by Victor Hugo.

 

 "The Hunchback" movie 

Films, serials, animations, music, and video games were created based on the motives of Victor Hugo's "Paris Notre-Dame Church" or "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame." Fifteen versions of the series in different years were subsequently screened after the first silent film, "Esmeralda," which appeared on screens in 1905. Of these, the movie shot in 1956 and 1997 are of particular interest. While the historical motives of this work by Hugo are real, the heroes - gypsy girl Esmeralda, the bell-ringer Quasimodo, the archdeacon Claude Frollo, and the young lover Phoebus are entirely imaginary characters. In screen works, the flow of events continues around these four characters. Gina Lollobrigida played Esmeralda in the 1956's skillfully. In the 1997 version of Peter Medak, we see the famous Hollywood star Salma Hayek in this character. Also, Mandy Patinkin, as Quasimodo, Richard Harris, as Claude Frollo wins the sympathy of the audience with their perfect play. Events took place in Paris. The beautiful Gypsy girl Esmeralda attracts men by her dances. The clergy of the Notre Dame Church, Claude Frollo, Quasimodo, and Phoebus are among her admirers.

Furthermore, the gypsy girl loves Phoebus. The events begin to rise after Esmeralda turns down the priest's love. Claude Frollo, who has already lost his divine love, causes Esmeralda to be charged with a crime to avenge the gypsy girl. However, Quasimodo comes to help her. Here we see that the Esmeralda loved by Quasimodo. Against all of this, the Church of Notre-Dame witnessed everything in the silence.

 

Along with the films, the musical based on the motives of the work also makes a great impression. The original version of the musical, first performed in France in 1998, is different from the others. The music "Belle," played on the first act of the musical cast by Garou, Daniel Lavoie, Patrick Fiori, and Helene Segara is very popular.

 

Lastly, Notre Dame Church was able to cope with another danger, even this time, with serious injuries. Notre-Dame restoration work has already begun. The primary responsibility is realizing the restoration of the monument by adhering to its architectural style. The Cathedral bells will still cover the Seine coast for an extended period.

 

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