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The ethics of cultural heritage
The ethics of cultural heritage

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1 Notre-Dame Cathedral

This is a colour photograph of Notre-Dame Cathedral, taken from the river to the south. Prominently visible in the centre of the photograph are the spire of the church and the large stained-glass rose window. The sky is bright blue and there are several green leafy trees in the foreground.
Figure 1 View of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris from the River Seine

Notre-Dame is a medieval Catholic cathedral in Paris, sitting on an island in the River Seine known as the Île de la Cité (Figure 1). Construction began in 1163 and was not finished until 1345, a total of 182 years.

It is one of the best examples of Gothic architecture in the world. Particularly outstanding are its flying buttresses (the external stone arches supporting the main body of the church), its large and brightly coloured stained-glass rose windows, and its famous gargoyles (demonic sculptured figures, originally designed to divert rainwater away from the building – see Figure 2).

This is a colour photograph of one of Notre-Dame’s gargoyles. It is taken from the roof, looking out over the Parisian skyline, with the Eiffel Tower visible in the distance. The gargoyle is a hunched-over creature, with horns, fangs and slender arms.
Figure 2 One of Notre-Dame’s gargoyles

In 1991, because of its unique and valuable features, Notre-Dame was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (among other nearby architectural wonders, including the Eiffel Tower). It is one of the most well known and frequently visited sites in the world, attracting 12 million tourists every year (Figure 3). Owing to its fame, it has become a symbol of Paris and has inspired artists and writers for many generations.

This is a colour photograph of Notre-Dame Cathedral from the public square to the west. Notable features of the cathedral include the two large square belfries on each corner, a large stained-glass rose window, and three large arches on the ground each containing the doors to the cathedral. In the foreground there are many people in the square who are probably tourists.
Figure 3 Western view of Notre-Dame, showing its 69-metre-high belfries