Notre Dame Essay

Submitted By Tink6268
Words: 1644
Pages: 7

Planning The Notre Dame was intricate and magnificent building that created sparks of inspiration. This would then ignite the fires of the cathedral building age. It was the French civilization that designed and undertook the building of this massive structure. The Notre Dame Cathedral is located in Paris, on the Île de la Cité an island in the Seine River. This is known as the birthplace of Paris. The Cathedral was built in the same location as Paris’ first Christian church. During the reign of Louis VII, Bishop Maurice de Sully deemed the original church an unworthy place to worship God, and had the building demolished. In 1163 he began the construction on the Notre Dame. Legend states that it was Pope Alexander who laid down the first stone for the foundation of the Cathedral. Constructed in three stages, the cathedral was completed approximately 180 years later in 1345. Throughout this period the world witnessed Paris coming into its own force as a center of political power and commerce. No expense was spared in creating a church that would reflect the capital's newly won prestige. Unfortunately, the actual cost of the cathedral remains unknown, howevert there is no doubt that it was very expensive. Maurice de Sully had a gift for fundraising and somehow managed to come up with funds regularly enough to keep the cathedral continuously under construction. The royal family apparently contributed nothing to the funding of the construction, but some people left money behind in their wills, and others made outright gifts. The bulk of the funding remains a mystery, though, since few records were kept. These were the 'development' years of early gothic architecture. It was essential that Paris should contain an impressive cathedral featuring innovations to surpass such smaller towns as Sens and Noyon. An advantage which Paris possessed over other sites was that the construction efforts were supported and encouraged by Louis VII. The Notre Dame still casts its shadow in the center of Paris today, and is a symbol of the city and all it has accomplished.
The age of gothic architecture and the Notre Dame was an age of new, innovative technology and design. Hundreds of workers and builders dedicated their lives to the construction of this cathedral, and unfortunately many never saw its completion. This structure serves as a memorial to these workers whose names are not recorded but who worked for the glory of their God. The raw materials needed to complete the construction were readily available from local sources. The region surrounding Paris was rich in a variety of stone. The majority of material used in Notre Dame was taken from nearby quarries. Still, transporting stone was costly, even over a short distance. To economize weight, much of the cutting and rough preparation of the blocks was accomplished at the quarry sites. Final dressing of the stone elements was executed within the masons' lodge, adjourning the cathedral. As a result of the Notre Dame’s massive size and complexity many new tools and design aspects were initiated. The treadwheel crane was used in the construction of the Notre Dame to lift and lower materials from the various levels of the Cathedral. This tool was entirely powered by men. One man would lift or slowly lower particularly heavy objects from the cathedral by walking inside the crane. Another commonly used tool in the construction of the cathedral was the wheelbarrow; it was used to transport materials and tools to various workers around the site. The construction of the Notre Dame utilized many new architectural techniques. The ceiling was constructed out of ribs of stone, which were light in weight, with a slightly pointed shape. These carried the weight of the stone slabs that crafted the vault and channelled the weight down to a couple of thin columns which rested on one large column. Since the walls were now free from bearing the weight of the vaults, they were no