Rouen Cathedral in France

Rouen Cathedral in France - The Intensely Majestic Gothic Marvel

Rouen Cathedral, or the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen, is a Gothic marvel in northwestern France. Today, this seat of the Archbishop is visited by tourists from all over the world for the sheer power of its architecture, Romanesque crypt, and awe-inspiring lantern tower. The construction was once the tallest building in the world, between 1876 and 1880.
The Rouen Cathedral in France was consecrated in 1063. It remains an integral part of the history of France, even after being replaced by a devastating fire in 1200. The Cathedral, as it stands today, was reconstructed during most part of the 13th century. The imposing steeple stands 250 ft tall and is by far the most popular annex. Referred to as the Tour de Beurre or Butter Tower, the reconstruction of the right-hand wing of the Cathedral spanned two centuries. All through the 15th and 17th century, the construction of the Tour de Beurre was funded by donations from wealthy citizens. Research reveals that the donations were made in return for the permission to eat butter all through Lent.
The Cathedral has numerous spires, towers, and annexes that were added to the central body over the years. Nevertheless, later constructions adhered to the dictates of Gothic architecture, making the final construction a complete 13th-century Gothic masterpiece. It has even survived a bombing during the Second World War, in 1944, and several direct impacts on its outer facade. The Chartres stained glass windows and the tomb of Richard the Lionheart remain tourist attractions. It is believed that the latter actually has the encased heart of the hero. Richard's effigy crowns the tomb, with his name etched in Latin.
The Cathedral of Rouen also houses the tomb of one of Richard the Lionheart's ancestors, Rollo. Rollo is believed to be the founder of the Viking principality, known to the world as Normandy today. The site flaunts the tomb of John Plantagenet, Duke of Bedford. This black marble visual treat encases the remains of the man responsible for the murder of Joan of Arc. The tomb has witnessed Calvinist destruction during the 16th century, effects of which can still be seen on the memorial plaque. It was nationalized by the French State in the 18th century. Thereafter, while most of the furniture and statues were sold, fences were melted to make guns. The 1944 bombings damaged the south aisle, rose windows, and the oldest tower, the north tower. Later in 1999, a violent storm dislodged a copper-platted wooden turret that damaged the church choir.
The Rouen Cathedral remains the main subject for many paintings. It is believed to offer fresh appeal through different times of the day. Painters like Roy Lichtenstein, Claude Monet, and Gustave Flaubert have immortalized the Cathedral at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, Getty Center in Los Angeles, and the National Museum of Serbia in Belgrade. It has earned the city the nickname 'City of a Hundred Spires'. With most of its edifices being churches, it is a melting pot for Christians around the world. The lacy stonework and all the 56 bells within the Tour Lanterne make the structure stand a class apart.
The Cathedral's 13th century choir flaunts arcades and 14 soaring pillars. Each choir stall has carved misericords that highlight depictions of routine activities and exquisite entries from the animal kingdom. Interior highlights include depictions of the crucifixion and celestial beings. The L'escalier de la Librairie is adorned with a rose window of stained glass, while the Chapelle de la Vierge houses the tombs of the d'Amboise cardinals. The Palais de l'Archevêché or the Archbishop's Palace stands tall behind the main structure. Gothic splendor, surviving direct and indirect attack, has resulted in a monument that pays ample tribute to the resilience of France.
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