Written by Saanchi Biyani, a grade 5 student.
Do you know that the French Government is taking a major and controversial step in cutting down 1,000-1,500 historic oak trees, which are centuries old, to rebuild Notre-Dame Cathedral?
First, let me tell you about the Notre Dame Cathedral and its rebuilding.
Notre Dame Cathedral, which means “Our Lady” in French, is a very old Cathedral in Paris, France. The Cathedral has been an important center for religious and secular life. It used to be the seat of the bishop, and so it was the most significant religious building in the city.
A Cathedral, while it can be called a church, is not the same. A church is a “house of worship for the Christians. A Cathedral, however, while it is a place of worship, it is also a place of religious authority, usually where the seat of a bishop is – so it’s more important in a way. Usually, there is only one Cathedral in a city, but there would be many churches.
Notre Dame is known for its size, antiquity, and stunning architecture. Located on the famous river Seine, it is a big tourist attraction with around 13 million people visiting it every year. The foundation stone was laid by Pope Alexander III as the construction begun in 1163. – it was completed by 1260, though it was modified frequently in the following centuries.
Been damaged before
The Cathedral suffered damage through the centuries. It was nearly destroyed by French revolutionary mobs who looted the church in the 1790s. It was saved from demolition by Napoleon, a French military leader who crowned himself as French emperor in 1804.
More recently, a fire broke out in the cathedral’s attic during a restoration campaign in 2019. The mammoth blaze burst rapidly through the roof of the eight centuries-old cathedral and engulfed the spire, which toppled, quickly followed by the entire roof. While the latticework roof and iconic spire collapsed, valuable religious relics and cultural treasures were spared.
Rebuilding the Notre Dame
To rebuild the cathedral iconic spire ‘exactly as it was’, the French government has taken a major decision to cut down 1,000-1,500 oak trees in more than 200 forests. The work to rebuild the church initiated in 2019. Since 2019, the work has concentrated on stabilising the structure and removing the scaffolding around the spire – which was undergoing renovation at the time of the fire – that collapsed and fused onto the stone structure below.
The forest department is supposed to plant trees to make up for the ones cut, but this is yet to be confirmed. In any case, I believe that cutting trees hurts specifically at a time when I am seeing people running for oxygen, other than medicines and beds, to save the lives of their loved ones.Want to write for us? We publish children’s writing Click Here