One of Europe’s most sacred buildings, Notre Dame Cathedral was ravaged by fire on Monday. The cathedral’s iconic spire collapsed under the flames and much of its roof was destroyed. Thankfully precious relics were saved from the Paris blaze that 400 brave firefighters worked hard to extinguish.
World leaders have spoken out following the Paris disaster which left the cultural landmark charred and without its spire.
France’s president Emmanuel Macron launched a fundraising campaign to pay for the building’s repairs.
French millionaires have already donated more than £600million towards the repairs but can Notre Dame really be rebuilt by 2024?
President Emmanuel Macron has set a target of five years to restore the cathedral to its former glory.
He said France “will rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral even more beautifully” as he addressed the nation little more than 24 hours after the devastating fire.
Can Notre Dame be rebuilt in five years?
While Macron is eager to complete the Notre Dame repairs in less than a decade, experts have warned the restorations could take years.
According to the Guardian the repairs may take decades and could involve serious challenges.
Key issues include the sourcing of materials and delicate work to preserve elements of the church that have survived, but been badly damaged by the fire, experts have warned.
Restoration expert Eric Fischer, who recently worked on restoring Strasbourg’s 1,000 year-old cathedral told the Guardian Notre Dame repairs could take decades.
He said: “The damage will be significant.”
While director-general of UN cultural organisation Unesco, Audrey Azoulay said restoring Notre Dame “will last a long time and cost a lot of money”.
One expert has suggested that a modern restoration would be the best thing for the future of the gothic Notre Dame.
Leading expert on the cathedral, Professor Stephen Murray said the building was “revolutionary” for its day and the vast sums of money could be used for a cutting-edge update.
He told the BBC’s World Tonight: “The 12th-century cathedral of Notre Dame of Paris was the highest-tech vision of a building they could conceive.
“It was really a revolutionary building and the roof was a revolutionary piece of carpentry and I don’t think we should be stuck with the past.
“We are children of the 21st century.”
Prof Murray said he expects the project to rebuild Notre Dame, which has received international offers of support, will unify France.
Gothic architecture was very much about unifying a society in the great struggle to create something almost miraculous, and I suspect that’s something we are going to see now in the 21st century,” he said.
“Gothic architecture has been a way of bridging gaps and social divisions and silly arguments to pull people together to build something marvellous.”
So far more than 800 million euros has been pledged towards the project.
Key donors include French tycoon Bernard Arnault and his luxury goods group LVMH, pledging 200 million euro (£173 million) after a reported 100 million euro (£86 million) donation was promised by another French billionaire, Francois Pinault.