La Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres by Peter Reid

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The first church to be built on this site can be dated to the mid-fourth century; and has been destroyed by fire, twice deliberately upon the order of the Duke of Aquitaine and later by Danish marauders. During the ninth century Bishop Gislebert rebuilt to a much grander scale going beyond the original Gallo-Roman walls. Compensation for the variation in ground levels was achieved by the construction of a substantial lower chamber covered by massive vaults. These vaults subsequently came to be used as the treasury for the diocesan valuables.

The fire of 1020 razed the cathedral and a new basilica was built under the supervision of Bishop Fulbert. The north tower dates from about 1140 following the great fire of 1134 while the south tower was built circa 1145.

Archaeological evidence supports the theory of the existence of a pagan shrine on this site before the cathedral was built, most notably by the fact that the original wooden image of the Patroness of Chartres, the Virgo Paritura, bore a striking resemblance to the Mother-Goddess of the Gallo-Roman era.

This connection to the Virgin may well have been the reason why Charles the Bald transferred the ‘Sacred Tunic’ (Sancta Camisia), reputedly worn by the Virgin when she brought Christ into the world, from Aix-la-Chapelle to the cathedral in 876. This tunic was the sacred relic of the Virgin given to Charles’ grandfather, Charlemagne, by the Emperor of Constantinople. From that time Chartres had a double claim to be the preferred residence on earth of the Virgin.

Ref: Swann W The Gothic Cathedral


Camera : Fujifilm A850
Lens : n/a
Exposure : 1/750 s
Apperture : ƒ8
Program : automatic
ISO : 200

Peter Reid retired from teaching in 2002 and returned to university, achieving MA photography. Since then he has traveled throughout Europe researching on two fronts; The photographer’s Human Rights and Gothic Architecture. He holds Associate membership of the Royal Photographic Society and is a past member of The Royal Musical Society. In 2012 he was successful at ABRSM grade 3 Piano, and now grade 4 beckons.

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  • Hidemi Tada
    Hidemi Tadaover 4 years ago

    very beautiful archtecture!

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