| Author: Joshua Swan

As night falls on Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, a terrible truth awaits the world when the sun rises again: the extent of the damage to one of the world’s most iconic buildings.



A massive blaze of unknown origins has consumed the roof, spire and likely much more of the interior of the 12th-century cathedral.



As of nightfall, the blaze had collapsed the cathedral’s spire and spread to one of its landmark rectangular towers. A spokesman said the entire wooden frame of the cathedral would likely come down, and that the vault of the edifice could be threatened too.


Among the most celebrated artworks inside are its three stained-glass rose windows, placed high up on the west, north and south faces of the cathedral. Its priceless treasures also include a Catholic relic, the crown of thorns, which is only occasionally displayed, including on Fridays during Lent.

“Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame,” Notre Dame spokesman Andre Finot told French media.



Although the fire is still burning — and nightfall obscures some of the damage — we’ve collected some of the early before-and-after photos of the damage. You can see them in the gallery above.




And now let’s look on the old images of this beautiful Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.