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Notre Dame Cathedral Will Be Rebuilt ‘Within 5 Years’ As Fire Causes Major Damage

The medieval Catholic cathedral is one of the most visited historical monuments in Europe, welcoming millions of people each year. It dates to the 12th century and is famous for featuring in Victor Hugo's classic novel, "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame."

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Experts inspect the damaged Notre Dame cathedral after the fire in Paris, April 16, 2019, assessing the blackened shell of Paris' iconic cathedral to establish next steps to save what remains after a devastating fire destroyed much of the almost 900-year-old building. VOA

French President Emmanuel Macron promised Tuesday to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral “within five years” after a fire caused extensive damage to the Parisian landmark.

French President Emmanuel Macron addresses the French nation following a massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral, at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, 16 April 2019.
French President Emmanuel Macron addresses the French nation following a massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral, at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, 16 April 2019. VOA

Macron said in a nationwide televised address the 850-year-old structure would be rebuilt “even more beautifully” and called on citizens to “change this disaster into an opportunity to come together.”

The fire is out and experts are assessing the damage. Paris fire department spokesman Gabriel Plus said building specialists and architects are “surveying the movement of structures and extinguishing smoldering residues.”

Men work on a statue on a facade at Notre-Dame Cathedral after a massive fire devastated large parts of the gothic structure in Paris, France, April 16, 2019.
Men work on a statue on a facade at Notre-Dame Cathedral after a massive fire devastated large parts of the gothic structure in Paris, France, April 16, 2019. VOA

Although the fire caused massive damage to the famed Gothic edifice in central Paris, the city’s fire chief, Jean-Claude Gallet, said firefighters saved the building’s two iconic towers and stone structure.

The flames, which at one point burned 10 meters into the air above the roof, destroyed much of the cathedral’s roof and caused its central spire to collapse.

The Notre Dame Cathedral spire collapses during a fire in Paris, France April 15, 2019 in this image taken from social media video. (Instagram/@nicolas_marang)
The Notre Dame Cathedral spire collapses during a fire in Paris, France April 15, 2019 in this image taken from social media video. (Instagram/@nicolas_marang) VOA

Cathedral spokesman Andre Finot said Monday the entire wooden interior of the cathedral was likely to have been destroyed.

Paris officials said firefighters worked to save as much art work and holy objects from the 12th-century cathedral as they could. Paris Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Gregoire said pieces of the purported Crown of Christ was salvaged and transported to “a secret” location.

The world-famous 18th century organ also survived, officials said, as did statues removed just days ago for restoration and other treasures inside the cathedral.

Consultant Patrick Palem (R) checks statues that were removed from the spire of Paris' Notre-Dame Cathedral in a workshop at the Socra company for restoration work in Marsac-sur-L'Isle, France, April 16, 2019.
Consultant Patrick Palem (R) checks statues that were removed from the spire of Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral in a workshop at the Socra company for restoration work in Marsac-sur-L’Isle, France, April 16, 2019. VOA

It is not clear what caused the blaze, although fire officials said the blaze may be linked to renovation work at the building.

Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said 50 investigators are involved in the “long and complex” effort to find the cause. Heitz said investigators would interview workers from five companies working on the restoration. A spokesman for one of the companies, Julien le Bras, said “all the security measures were respected” by its 12 workers who he said are “participating in the investigation with no hesitation.”

A Vatican statement expressing shock and sadness and called Notre Dame a “symbol of Christianity in France and in the world.” Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said Tuesday on Twitter Pope Francis is praying “for those who are trying to cope with this dramatic situation.”

Smoke rises around the alter in front of the cross inside the Notre Dame Cathedral as a fire continues to burn in Paris, France, April 16, 2019.
Smoke rises around the alter in front of the cross inside the Notre Dame Cathedral as a fire continues to burn in Paris, France, April 16, 2019. VOA

The fire occurred during the holiest week of the year for Christians. It occurred less than a week before Easter and during Catholic Holy Week commemorations. An Easter Mass had been planned at the cathedral on Sunday.

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The medieval Catholic cathedral is one of the most visited historical monuments in Europe, welcoming millions of people each year. It dates to the 12th century and is famous for featuring in Victor Hugo’s classic novel, “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.” (VOA)

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London, Paris, Bangkok- Top 3 Travel Destinations in the Past Decade

Bangkok, London, Paris top 3 travel destinations of decade says a new report

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Paris is one among the most travelled cities in the world. Pixabay

While there has been significant movement in visitors to smaller cities, the top 10 have remained largely consistent over the past decade, with London, Paris and Bangkok grabbing the top three spots, according to a new report.

The top three overseas destinations for Indian travellers are Dubai, Singapore and Mecca, revealed the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index 2019 which ranks 200 cities based on proprietary analysis of publicly available visitor volume and spend data.

Since 2009, the number of international overnight visitors grew an astounding 76 per cent, according to the report.

In 2019, Bangkok became the No. 1 destination for the fourth consecutive year, with more than 22 million international overnight visitors.

Paris and London, in flipped positions this year, hold the No. 2 and 3 spots respectively, both hovering over 19 million.

When looking at the cities by dollars spent, Dubai tops the list with travellers spending $553 on an average per day. Mecca, new to the top 10 last year, remains at No. 2 for the second consecutive year, with Bangkok rounding out the top three.

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Paris and London, in flipped positions this year, hold the No. 2 and 3 spots respectively, both hovering over 19 million. Pixabay

Between all of the destinations within the Index, arrivals have grown on average 6.5 per cent year-over-year since 2009, with expenditure growing on average 7.4 per cent, said the report.

Cities in the Asia-Pacific region have seen the largest increase in international travellers since 2009, growing 9.4 per cent.

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In comparison, Europe, which saw the second highest growth, was up 5.5 per cent.

This is spurred by the growth in Chinese travellers. Since 2009, China has jumped up six places to be the No. 2 origin country for travellers to the 200 included destinations – behind only the US, said the report. (IANS)