Reims Cathedral (FR. Notre-Dame de Reims) is one of the most famous Gothic cathedrals in France. For many centuries it was the place of coronation of most French monarchs.
It was built in the XIII century, that is later famous Gothic cathedrals, like Notre-Dame de Paris and Chartres Cathedral, but much earlier than the cathedrals in Amiens, Strasbourg and Beauvais.
Because of its architecture and the sculptures of the Notre-Dame Cathedral (dedicated to the virgin Mary) in Reims is a UNESCO world heritage site.
The history of the construction
The first Cathedral built in the V century the Holy Bishop Nicasie on the site of Gallo-Roman baths was dedicated to our lady.
About 498 years of Holy Remigi baptized in Rheims Cathedral Clovis I .
Charlemagne’s son Louis the Pious in 816 Reims chose the place of the coronation of the Emperor. The Cathedral of our lady of 1027 was crowned Henry I. Political power of the Archbishopric of Reims, and the legend of the Holy Steklenica (the vessel with the chrism) became the reasons that the Cathedral became the permanent venue of the coronation of French monarchs. In 1210, a fire destroyed the old Cathedral.
And here on 6 may 1211, the Archbishop of Reims Aubrey de Umber (FR. Aubry de Humbert) laid on this place the new Cathedral of our lady,which still exists today.
The names of built it architects and years of buildings of parts of the building became known thanks to the maze with the words, which laid on the floor plates inside the nave. According to these signs, in the construction of the new building of the Cathedral was attended by the following architects:
Jean d Orbey (FR. Jean d ‘ Orbais).
Jean-Le-Loup (FR. Jean-le-Loup) (which can be translated as Jean a Wolf).
Gaucher Reims (FR. Gaucher de Reims).
Bernard Seasonski (FR. Bernard de Soissons).
Robert de coucy.
A magnificent Cathedral was the coronation site of French rulers.
Interesting facts from the long history of Reims Cathedral
In the XVI century in Reims Cathedral gets Slavic gospel, which, as mysterious manuscripts, swear allegiance to the French kings.
The last coronation in Reims on 29 may 1825. Then on the throne of Karl X.
During the First world war, Reims was occupied by the Germans and for four years remained in the combat zone. The Cathedral was in ruins. The reconstruction was completed in 1938. Money for the reconstruction was provided by the Rockefeller Foundation.
The second world war was not so destructive of the Cathedral. May 7, 1945, here in Notre-Dame de Reims, a document was signed on the cessation of hostilities between France and Germany.
Today Rheims Cathedral was completely reconstructed in the form in which it was conceived by architects of the thirteenth century.
In the List of world Heritage of UNESCO included the Cathedral in 1991.
The architecture of Notre-Dame de Reims .
Reims Cathedral is the most harmonious of all Gothic cathedrals in France. Its towers are 80 meters. This is one of the largest churches of the French Gothic “Lancet style.”
The Western facade of the Cathedral was erected in the style of Mature Gothic. The General scheme of the composition of the Western façade is similar to the arrangement Notre Dame, but has a more elongated proportions. Unlike Notre Dame de Paris, here the tower form the facade of one whole. Lancet the end of the portals and Windows penetrating the second tier, visually breaking the line of eaves and blurring the lines between tiers.
The portals are decorated with an unusual composition of the round stained glass Windows-the rose. Instead of the traditional sculpture of the tympanum of the Central portal is decorated with the biggest rose.
On the second tier is traditionally located near statues of a large size “Gallery of kings”.
About 2,300 figures of kings and bishops, knights and saints, artisans, even the devil is located on the facade. Completes the facade of a powerful two openwork towers.
The length of the Cathedral from East to West is 136 meters, the height of the nave is 38 meters.
High tower with a spire that is just visible in the centre of the Western facade, placed over the main apse, and not above the crossing, as is usually the case. The Central apse is surrounded by deambulatorio with five apsidioles.
The other facades have a large number of flying buttresses, pinnacles, arches of different sizes, columns and pillars, creating a fanciful play of light and shadow. The side facades is complicated by pinnacles with statues of angels. Very interesting downspout, decorated with gargoyles in the form of a boar, RAM, dragon, vulture.