Wednesday, October 7, 2009


The town is best known for the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres, widely considered to be the finest gothic cathedral in France. The cathedral was the most important building in the town, as it was the centre of economy, the most famous landmark and the focal point of almost every activity.

The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres can be seen hovering in mid-air above waving fields of wheat, and as visitors draw closer to the City of Chartres, two contrasting spires can be seen. Its historical and cultural importance is recognized by its inclusion on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

Noted for its many large stained glass windows, the cathedral is noted for its three large rose windows – the Last Judgment, the Glorification of the Virgin; and the Glorification of Christ.

Another interesting feature of the cathedral is its labyrinth. It is perhaps the best known classical labyrinth, as it is also the only one of the larger medieval labyrinths still existing. The Chartres labyrinth measures about 13 metres (43 feet). It has unique decorative elements which make it easy to identify and which certainly contributed to its fame. Its general design is that of the 860 manuscript: it is, by far, the most common design in the manuscripts and even on the floors of the cathedrals. (Reference:

This labyrinth was meant to be walked but is reported to be infrequently used today. In the past it could be walked as a pilgrimage and/or for repentance. As a pilgrimage it was a questing, searching journey with the hope of becoming closer to God. When used for repentance the pilgrims would walk on their knees.

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