The medieval Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres, located in Chartres , about 50 miles from Paris.
The Chartres Cathedral is considered as one of the three chief examples of Gothic French architecture style (along with Amiens Cathedral and Reims Cathedral Gothic Cathedrals and a major pilgrimage destination since the early Middle Ages, with greatest achievements, perfectly preserved in its original design and details .
The current cathedral, mostly constructed between 1193 and 1250, fire destroyed much of the building, necessitating a reconstruction that continued over a 26-year period Chartres Cathedral was never destroyed nor looted during the French Revolution and the numerous restorations never have altered its glorious beauty.
Several other churches and an earlier cathedral had already stood in the same location (at least five cathedrals on this site), when work on the current cathedral started, including an impressive roman style cathedral which stood for almost 200 years until it was destroyed by fire in 1194. The other earlier buildings also have been damaged by war or fire. Nothing survives of the earliest church, which was destroyed during an attack on the city by the Danes in 858, except a small part of this earlier cathedral remained, predominantly the crypt and the west towers.
The light spilling into the Chartres Cathedral comes from its stained-glass windows which date back as far as the early 13th century. which are still in remarkably good condition. Chartres Cathedral is said to contain one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of medieval stained glass. The cathedral was originally fitted with 186 windows. The porches are adorned with exquisite sculptures from the mid 12th century. Together, the architectural features make Chartres Cathedral truly a masterpiece of French Gothic art. Not forgotten the labyrinth which is another design feature that makes Chartres Cathedral one of the most popular tourist attractions in France .
The Chartres was a place where pilgrims used to come quite often and during older days, the church used to be a hospital to take care of the sick.
In 1979, the Gothic Chartres Cathedral made UNESCO’s very first World Heritage list. It is the largest cathedral in France.
The Chartres Cathedral is one of the most visited Gothic churches in the entire France.