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UN Secretary General "horrified" at Notre-Dame Cathedral fire

Press Trust of India  |  United Nations 

UN Antonio expressed

horror and sadness at the devastation of the famed Cathedral in as fire tore through the 12th-century symbol of faith and architectural brilliance, days just before the world will celebrate

The colossal fire swept through the famed cathedral in central on Monday, causing a spire to collapse and threatening to destroy the entire masterpiece and its precious artworks.

The fire, which began in the early evening, sent flames and huge clouds of grey smoke billowing into the sky.

"Horrified by the pictures coming from Paris with the fire engulfing Cathedral - a unique example of world heritage that has stood tall since the 14th century. My thoughts are with the people and government of France," said in a tweet as images began to on television and of a burning Notre-

Audrey Azoulay, of UNESCO the Paris-based UN agency for education, science and culture also expressed her "deep emotion in the face of this dramatic fire at the cathedral."

Azoulay said that UNESCO is closely monitoring the situation and is standing by the French people's side to "safeguard and restore this invaluable heritage."

The Organisation elevated Notre-Dame, widely considered to be one of the finest examples of French gothic architecture, to world heritage status in 1991. Construction of the cathedral began in 1163, on the central Parisian island in the middle of the Seine, known as Ile de la Cite, during the reign of Louis VII, and it was finally completed in 1345.

The of the Maria Fernanda Espinosa said in a tweet that she is "deeply saddened by the images of the burning One of the jewels of French and European cultural heritage, the cathedral was inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991.

"I stand with the people and government of France," she said.

The devastation came days just before the world will celebrate on April 21.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known. Around 400 firefighters battled the blaze for nearly five hours. According to Paris City Hall, the fire started shortly before 7pm Paris time Monday.

About 11 to 13 million visitors visit Notre Dame each year. The cathedral was undergoing much-needed renovations. While the cathedral's iconic spire and roof collapsed in the fire, the main structure of the was saved from total destruction.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, April 16 2019. 09:15 IST