"Notre Dame" Chartres Things to Do Tip by Aaron7
Chartres Things to Do: 161 reviews and 508 photos
This is one of the largest cathedrals in France. There is evidence that it has existed back as far as the sixth century. However due to battles and fires, the building now standing dates back the 12th century. It is home to the Sancta Camisia which was brought back to France from the Holy land by Charlemagne. It's a holy relic, a length of silk dating from 2000 years ago which is supposed to be the garment Mary was wearing when she gave birth to Jesus. So many pilgrims came to see this relic that they had to have a large cathedral to contain them all. It is said that when the Viking Rollon who had been ransacking France saw the Sancta Camisia, he immediately made peace and converted to Christianity.
The cathedral was built with funds contributed by many of the influential nobles and trade guilds of Europe at the time of it's last disaster. The relic survived, so they took the fire as a sign that they should build the cathedral even larger. Amazingly, it was built in less than 30 years.
The cathedral is huge, and the amount of detail is absolutely incredible! There are nearly 200 stained glass windows, with about 3000 square meters of stained glass. These are being restored at the moment. The ones that have been completed are amazing! What's more each window tells a story. For example, the lancelets next to the west rose from right to left tell the stories of the lineage of Christ, the life of Christ and the death of Christ. Then, there are the statues. There are over 4,000 of them all told. These too are being renovated, and they have actually uncovered some of the original paint on them. Most of the statues on the north and south porches and the royal portal are sculptures of saints, while the ambulatory features story lines.
It also has other interesting features, such as the labarynth pattern on the floor of the church which is supposed to be an exact replica of the maze of the minotaur from Crete. Noone knows now what it's religious significance is. You can also visit the bell towers and the crypts.
othercontact: Entry to the cathedral is free.
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