December 9, 2013

0894 FRANCE (Centre-Val de Loire) - Chartres Cathedral (UNESCO WHS)

Located on a hill on the left bank of the Eure River, at 96km southwest of Paris, Chartres is best known for its cathedral (Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres), widely considered to be the finest Gothic cathedral in France, for which reason was included on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1979. The current cathedral, mostly constructed between 1194 and 1250, is the last of at least five which have occupied the site since the town became a bishopric in the 4th century. While the city was heavy bombed in WWII, the cathedral was spared by an American Army officer who challenged the order to destroy it, so it is in an exceptional state of preservation. The majority of the original stained glass windows survive intact (during the WWII were removed), while the architecture has seen only minor changes since the early 13th century.

The building's exterior is dominated by heavy flying buttresses which allowed the architects to increase the windows size, while the west end is dominated by two contrasting spires, a 105m plain pyramid completed around 1160 and a 113m early 16th century Flamboyant spire on top of an older tower. Notable are also the three façades, each adorned with hundreds of sculpted figures. The cathedral has been an important destination for travellers, and remains so to nowadays, attracting large numbers of Christian pilgrims, many of who come to venerate its famous relic, the Sancta Camisa, said to be the tunic worn by the Virgin Mary at Christ's birth.

About the stamp
The stamp is one of not less then six stamps issued in 1976 by La Poste to support Red Cross, each of them having added a value of 20 centimes:
Mounet-Sully (1841-1916) (0,80+0,20 F) - it's on the postcard
Maréchal Moncey (1754-1842) (0,80+0,20 F)
Max Jacob (1876-1944) (0,80+0,20 F)
Anna de Noailles (1976-1933) (1,00+0,20 F)
Eugène Fromentin (1820-1876) (1,00+0,20 F)
Général Daumesnil (1776-1832) (1,00+0,20 F)

Chartres Cathedral - Wikipedia
Chartres Cathedral - UNESCO official website

sender: Sébastien C. (direct swap)
sent from Bordeaux (Aquitaine / France), on 25.11.2013

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