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Notre-Dame: history set in stone

The Cathedral of Notre Dame on a sunny day in Paris several years ago. (Mary Majerus-Collins/YJI)

Edinburgh, SCOTLAND – When I found out that the Notre-Dame Cathedral was on fire, I was just reading about the Grands Projets in Paris – a program to provide the City of Light with a series of modern architectural monuments at the end of the 20th century.

During my break from revision, my brother sent me the link to the video of the cathedral spire falling over in flames.

I was very lucky to have had the opportunity to see Notre-Dame during my brief visit to Paris in September 2017.

The Cathedral has been a must-see for any visitor to Paris, a signature example of French medieval Gothic architecture.

Even though I was never a fan of medieval or Gothic architecture, as a student of architectural history I could appreciate the historical significance and value of Notre-Dame.

Seeing the cathedral burning, where the fire is clearly out of control, brought tears to my eyes.

What happened and is happening is a cruel reminder that even something that appears durable and timeless can be lost within a few hours.

Notre-Dame is history set in stone – yet it turns out that even stone can burn.

It is not the first important historical building to catch fire and suffer significant damage.

The Glasgow School of Art (designed by C.M. Mackintosh, completed in 1909) burned twice within the last decade.

I will be watching to see what the French authorities decide to do with the building after the fire is put out.

Joanna Koter is a Senior Reporter with Youth Journalism International. She wrote this as fire ravaged the historic cathedral.

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