Hopes for some of Notre Dame’s priceless artefacts
Firefighters and police created a human chain to pull items from the burning cathedral.
Notre Dame Cathedral housed priceless artefacts and objects of huge cultural and historical significance before the devastating fire.
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo confirmed several of the most sacred had been saved, while culture minister Franck Riester said others were being held under lock and key at the city hall.
Here are some of the famous objects and artworks associated with Notre Dame:
Merci aux @PompiersParis, aux policiers et aux agents municipaux qui ont réalisé ce soir une formidable chaîne humaine pour sauver les œuvres de #NotreDame. La couronne d'épines, la tunique de Saint Louis et plusieurs autres œuvres majeures sont à présent en lieu sûr. pic.twitter.com/cbrGWCbL2N— Anne Hidalgo (@Anne_Hidalgo) April 15, 2019
Les agents du @MinistereCC, épaulés par les équipes de l’archevêché, les @PompiersParis et les forces de sécurité, évacuent les œuvres se trouvant à l’intérieur de la cathédrale. Elles sont progressivement mises en sécurité. #NotreDame pic.twitter.com/iINHyUqJME— Franck Riester (@franckriester) April 15, 2019
– Crown of Thorns
Purported to be a relic of the wreath of thorns placed on the head of Jesus Christ at his crucifixion, the hallowed object was stored in the cathedral’s treasury.
French King Louis IX brought the relic, which is contained in an elaborate gold case, to Paris in 1238.
Ms Hidalgo said the Crown of Thorns had been taken into safekeeping.
– Tunic of Saint Louis
The simple garment, said to have been worn by Louis IX as he brought the Crown of Thorns to Paris, was also kept at the cathedral.
Ms Hidalgo said it had been saved.
– Rose Windows
Among the most famous architectural features of the Gothic masterpiece, the stained glass rose windows are treasured artworks in their own right.
The three rose windows, which date back to the 13th century, adorn the north, south and west facades.
There were hopes the windows had escaped being destroyed by the fire after firefighters stopped its spread.
Photos on Tuesday morning suggested the circular window of the nave had remained intact.
Depuis le ventre de l’orgue pic.twitter.com/8OrK5amNHU— Cathédrale NotreDame (@notredameparis) February 12, 2019
– Great Organ
With nearly 8,000 pipes, some dating back to the 1700s, Notre Dame’s master organ is one of the largest in the world.
The monumental instrument, the largest in France, was fully restored in 2013 with each pipe cleaned.
Paris’ deputy mayor, Emmanuel Gregoire, said the instrument remained intact on Tuesday morning.
Il est 11h. Le grand bourdon Emmanuel sonne pour commémorer, comme tous les ans depuis le 11 novembre 2018, la fin de la Première Guerre Mondiale et rendre hommage à toutes les victimes de ce conflit. pic.twitter.com/fyJfqua0Ey— Cathédrale NotreDame (@notredameparis) November 11, 2018
Housed in the two western towers, Notre Dame’s bells have rung out at key moments in France’s history.
Emmanuel, the largest bell, was lifted into the south tower in 1685 and weighs over 23 tonnes.
Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, Quasimodo, was the cathedral’s bell-ringer.
The fire was prevented from spreading to the bell towers.
– True Cross and Holy Nail
Notre Dame was also home to a fragment said to come from the wood of the cross on which Jesus was crucified, along with one of the nails. The relics were saved during the revolution and given to the cathedral later.
– Notre Dame de Paris statue
Carved in the middle of the 14th century, the statue features an almost life-sized Madonna and child. It was transferred to Notre Dame in 1818.
– Statue of Saint Denis
Saint Denis, the first bishop of Paris, was beheaded in Montmartre in 257. He features in several places in Notre Dame, including at the gate of the Virgin.
Flanked by angels, he is recognisable by the head he holds in his hands.
– Statues on the roof
The week before the fire, religious statues set atop the cathedral were removed for the first time in over 100 years as part of the restoration project.
A 100-metre-high crane lowered the copper statues representing the 12 apostles and four evangelists onto a lorry.