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Remembering the Notre Dame cathedral fire: 2 years later

PARIS — On April 15, 2019, the Notre Dame cathedral caught fire, with horrified Parisians watching as its iconic spire burned and fell to the ground.

Two years later, the beloved French landmark is still scarred, and renovation work was slowed down amid the coronavirus pandemic. The rector of Notre Dame says the burned-out Paris cathedral and its esplanade could remain a building site for another “15 or 20 years.”

RELATED: Before and after photos of Notre Dame cathedral fire damage

Notre Dame survived years of wars and revolutions.

Construction on Notre Dame – French for “Our Lady” – began in the 12th century and continued for nearly 200 years. It sustained damage and fell into neglect during the French Revolution, but received renewed attention following the 1831 publication of Victor Hugo’s novel “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.” This led to two decades of restorations, including the cathedral’s famous flying buttresses and a reconstructed spire.

It has stood, in the words of one art expert, as “one of the great monuments to the best of civilization.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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