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Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai: An Overwhelming Attraction in an Impressive City

Notre-Dame Cathedral

The Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai, Belgium is perhaps one of the most important cathedrals—and one of the most important attractions—of this quaint but beautiful European nation. And to say this about an attraction in Belgium is nothing to belittle, as the country offers some of the most beautiful and picturesque sites this side of the world—or any part of the world, for that matter. After all, Belgium is well known for its popular cities Brussels and Bruges, both of which house a number of impressive and popular tourist sites. Nonetheless, the Notre-Dame Cathedral is an important attraction mainly because it shows the depth of art and culture in Belgium. And as part of the UNESCO World Heritage site list, the Notre-Dame Cathedral is acknowledge as an important part in the history of the country as well, beyond its importance as a tourist attraction.
This famous cathedral—which many people say is the cathedral everyone should visit in Belgium; the cathedral tourists should choose if they are to pick only one—was built during the early 12th century, although the final product took years of renovation, reconstruction, and structural additions. This is perhaps one of the charms of the cathedral—it shows two types of styles, mainly the Romanesque style and the Gothic style. The end product is a behemoth of a cathedral; not exactly the biggest in the world, but among the most stylistically advanced. The Notre-Dame Cathedral is nonetheless overwhelming, both in size and in style.
The Romanesque style of the cathedral is evident in the central towers, as well as in the nave, while the choir of the cathedral is obviously Gothic. The Romanesque influence is expected, considering that this part of the cathedral was built during the earlier part of the 12th century, and because Tournai became the seat of a bishopry. The roof was the cathedral was originally flat, and its present form was only created during the 19th century. As expected from any religious building, the Notre-Dame Cathedral was filled with religious sculptures.
The Gothic style of the cathedral was installed in the cathedral during the 13th century. Gothic architecture was a very popular style at that time, which is evident as most of the cathedrals built during this time employ the same design. The Gothic choir of the Notre-Dame Cathedral was inspired by similar cathedrals like the Amiens Cathedral, which was built during the earlier part of the 13th century. The construction of the Gothic choir—facilitated by Bishop Gautier de Marvis—ended by 1255. However, only the choir has a dominantly Gothic style (although a Gothic chapel was added in the western porch of the main cathedral), since the plan to reconstruct the cathedral in sport a Gothic structure never pushed through. The Shrine of Our Lacy and the Shrine of Saint Eleutherius are two important side chapels, both of which are Gothic inspired. The Notre-Dame Cathedral also houses several paintings by some of the renowned artists in the area.
Truly, the Notre-Dame Cathedral is an impressive work of art in itself.

Notre-Dame Cathedral

Notre-Dame Cathedral

Notre-Dame Cathedral

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