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A history of great cathedrals that have been lost to fire and war

The fire that engulfed Notre Dame in Paris on Monday, severely damaging a building that had stood for more than eight centuries, felt unprecedented. And in one sense, it was: How else can one describe the gutting of a building that stood witness to so much of Western European history?

But in another sense, Notre Dame is one in a long line of cathedrals that have been ravaged by fire or war.

Old St. Paul’s, London, 1135-1666

Construction began on Old St. Paul’s Cathedral in London (actually the fourth attempt at a church named for Paul in that spot, the previous three having been destroyed) in 1087, the same year much of the city was devastated by fire, and was delayed by a blaze in 1135.

It was then destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666, at which point the old structure was razed in favor of the new St. Paul’s, which still stands today.

St. Martin’s, Utrecht, 1253

St. Martin’s was established by Frankish clergy around 630. It was destroyed by Normans in the 9th century, rebuilt in the 10th — and then partially destroyed by fire in 1253.

Read entire article at Washington Post