France's Historic Notre Dame Cathedral In Flames
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The cause of the fire at the 856-year-old cathedral isn't yet clear - though officials said it could be linked to renovation work. Construction on the cathedral began in 1163, and the building opened in 1345. Today, it is the most visited tourist attraction in Paris, drawing 13 million visitors per year, beating out the Eiffel Tower.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo tweeted about the "terrible fire" and asked people to stay away: "A terrible fire is underway at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. The @PompiersParis are trying to control the flames. We are mobilized on the spot in close connection with the @dioceseparis. I invite everyone to respect the security perimeter."
The situation is a terrible tragedy as one of the most revered monuments in all of Catholicism looks like it could be completely destroyed, a historical tragedy that would be practically unrivaled in modern times.