Fire engulfs Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris

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      Massive flames are spewing out of the most visited monument in the world.

      The spectacular Notre-Dame Cathedral was initially built in medieval times on Ile de la Cité in Paris.

      The central tower has caved in as firefighters are trying to fight the blaze.

      The Catholic cathedral attracts 12 million visitors per year.

      So far, the cause of the fire is unknown.

      It's viewed as one of the greatest examples of French Gothic architecture.

      Its origins date back to 1160 and the church was completed 100 years later.

      A major restoration took place in the 19th century and beginning in 1963, the facade was cleaned.

      Every day, hordes of tourists stand outside taking photographs before walking inside and viewing the stained glass windows and the massive organ.

      This is how Notre-Dame appeared before the fire.


      The Vatican has issued the following statement:

      “The Holy See has learned with shock and sadness the news of the terrible fire that has devastated the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, symbol of Christianity, in France and in the world. We express our closeness to the French Catholic and to the people of Paris. We pray for the fire fighters and for all those who are doing everything possible to face this dramatic situation.”

      Other international figures have also been expressing their deep disappointment:

      Video: President Emmanuel Macron promises to rebuild Notre-Dame Cathedral.

      Update #2

      President Emmanual Macron says firefighters have prevented the destruction of the iconic facade of Notre-Dame Cathedral.

      "Thanks to their bravery, the worst has been avoided," he said.

      Both huge rectangles facing west remain intact.

      Macron called the historic church "the cathedral of all French people".

      "Notre-Dame is our history, it's our literature, it's our imagery."

      He's also promised to rebuild it with the help of an international fundraising campaign.