France - Table of Contents ............... Architecture Around the World
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Buildings Neighboring Chartres Cathedral
For stained glass illustrations, see MedievalArt.org.uk
The French medieval Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres (French: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres) is a Latin Rite Catholic cathedral located in Chartres, about 80 kilometres (50 mi) southwest of Paris, is considered one of the finest examples of the French High Gothic style.
There have been at least five cathedrals on this site, each replacing an earlier building damaged by war or fire. ... The current cathedral, mostly constructed between 1193 and 1250...
What makes the cathedral special from an artistic viewpoint is its exceptional state of preservation. The majority of the original stained glass windows survive intact, while the architecture has seen only minor changes since the early 13th century.
In c.876 the cathedral acquired the Sancta Camisa, believed to be the tunic worn by the Blessed Virgin Mary at the time of Christ's birth. According to legend, the relic was given to the cathedral by Charlemagne who received it as a gift from Emperor Constantine VI during a crusade to Jerusalem, however this legend was pure fiction (Charlemagne never went to the Holy Land) - probably invented in the 11th century to authenticate some relics at the Abbey of St Denis. In fact, the relic was a gift to the cathedral from Charles the Bald and there is no evidence for its being an important object of pilgrimage prior to the 12th century.
World War II
All the glass from the cathedral was removed in 1939 just before the Germans invaded France, and it was cleaned after the War and releaded before replacing.
While the city suffered heavy damage by bombing in the course of World War II, the cathedral was spared by an American Army officer who challenged the order to destroy it
- Wikipedia (April 2012)