Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Philatelic Photograph: Cathédrale de Rouen - Rouen, France

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Cathédrale de Rouen
Upper Normandy,  France
Topic: Philatelic Photographs
Tour Saint Romain and Tour Beurre  
South Portal - Spire
GPS: N49° 26.429; E001° 05.646

Quick Description: 

The Cathédrale de Rouen is located at the east end of the Rue du Gros Horloge in Rouen, France

Long Description:

The construction of the current cathedral began between 1170 - 1180, replacing a series of older churches that date back to the 4th century, with the Romanesque tour Saint Romain on the north side of the western façade, followed by reconstruction of the nave. Fire damaged the cathedral in 1200, which was reconstructed by architect Jean d’Andely according to the original plan. The nave and the choir were soon rebuilt. A lantern tower in the Normandy Gothic style was built over the place where the nave and transept intersect.

In 1270, the nave was widened to accommodate chapels on both sides. The portals on both sides of the transept were added in 1280. In 1485 the southern tower on the western façade, known as la Tour Beurre – the butter tower, was constructed. this feature has an unusual history. In medieval France the population was not allowed to eat butter during the Lenten period between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. However, upon payment of a special tax, consumption of butter was allowed. As a result, the church hierarchy at Rouen raised was able to raise all the funds needed to build this second tower on the west façade, which is still called la Tour Buerre .

In 1540 the lantern tower was raised one level and a 132 meter high spire was added on top of the tower. This was replaced with an even higher current cast-iron spire in 1876,, replacing the original Renaissance spire which was damaged by lightening and fire in 1822. The church now became the tallest building in the world until the Cathedral at Cologne, Germany was built in 1880. The lantern tower and spire suffered bomb damage during World War II. A complete restoration was completed in 1956. The cathedral's tower is the tallest church tower in France.

The stamp was issued by France on October 19, 1957 as part of a set of seven stamps depicting famous sites of France and its overseas districts.

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