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Statues of Local saints, including the decapitated martyrs Victoricus and Gentian, at the western entrance, headless, exterior, Amiens catherdal, France, Notre Dame. The Largest cathedral in France, Amiens is said to contain the skull of St John the Baptist
The Cathedral of Our Lady of Amiens (French: Cathédrale Notre-Dame d’Amiens), or simply Amiens Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral and seat of the Bishop of Amiens, Jean-Luc Marie Maurice Louis Bouilleret. The cathedral is the tallest complete cathedral in France, with the greatest interior volume (estimated at 200,000 m³). The vaults of the nave are 42.30 m high, the tallest nave vaults in any completed French cathedral, and surpassed only by the incomplete Beauvais Cathedral. This monumental cathedral is located in Amiens, the chief city of Picardy, in the Somme River valley a little over 100 kilometers north of Paris.
Notre-Dame d’Amiens has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981.
The initial impetus for the building of the cathedral came from the installation of the reputed head of John the Baptist on 17 December 1206. The head was part of the loot of the Fourth Crusade, which had been diverted from campaigning against the Turks to sacking the great Christian city of Constantinople. A sumptuous reliquary was made to house the skull. Although later lost, a 19th century replica still provides a focus for prayer and meditation in the North aisle.