Chartres Cathedral, France
Chartres Cathedral, devoted to the Virgin Mary is one of the most beautiful churches in the world. It was inaugurated in 1260 and has been well preserved till today. The church has been a major pilgrimage destination since the Early Middle Ages.
Chartres Cathedral is highly praised for its sculpture, much celebrated stained glass as well as its high gothic style. The sculptures in the cathedral range from large column statues to miniatures and were intended to be educational just like the stained glass. Gothic architecture is seen by many to be dark but the architects didn’t intend their work to be that way. Cathedrals were meant to provide a glimpse of heaven on earth by being temples of light.
The innovations displayed inside the building set the standard for architecture in the thirteenth century.
Several alterations have been made to the site over the years and a series of restorations took place in the 19th century. Efforts during the 20th century mainly concentrated on the protection of the church’s stained glass from air pollution.
UNESCO designated the cathedral as a World Heritage Site in 1979.