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Chartes Cathedral Malcolm Miller an English-speaking tour guide at the Chartes Cathedral states The Chartes Cathedral is a book Its architecture is in the binding and its stories are told through its windows and sculptures The Chartes Cathedral held true to this statement through my research of this famous gothic cathedral Located in the heart of a small sleepy town southwest of Paris it contains the largest collection of exquisite stained glass sculptures and vaulted ceilings Chartes has been left virtually unharmed through over eight centuries of wars and rebellions It miraculously survived the French Revolution unscathed when many churches were destroyed by rebelling peasants and it narrowly missed the bombing of Nazi planes during WWII The exact time and date that the original cathedral was founded is unknown but it was before 743 the first sure date associated with it The church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and houses a relic a piece of fabric that is believed to have been worn by the Virgin as she gave birth to Jesus Because of this relic Chartes became a major pilgrimage center and a great cathedral was built The work on the current Chartes Cathedral began in 1194 after a fire destroyed the old church Chartes is the largest and arguably the most magnificent of all Gothic cathedrals The Western Facade which is the front of the church has two different steeples built in different centuries and exhibiting different types of architecture On all sides of the Cathedral there are beautiful sculptures The entire church is covered with icons of the Virgin Jesus angels and biblical figures Inside the church the vaulted ceilings are built very high- this was one of the tallest free-standing structures in the world for a number of centuries The high ceilings draw visitors attention to the sky and give one a sense of sacredness The church is held up by flying buttresses on the outside
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