Q:

Why are there gargoyles in the Notre Dame cathedral?

A:

Quick Answer

The gargoyles on Notre Dame cathedral were built as water spouts to prevent damage to the masonry by deflecting rainwater from the sides of the building. After the installation of drain pipes in the 16th century, the gargoyles were merely ornamental.

Know More
Why are there gargoyles in the Notre Dame cathedral?
Credit: Julian Elliott Photography Photolibrary Getty Images

Full Answer

The word "gargoyle" comes from the Latin "gurgulio" and the French "garguille," which mean gullet or throat and suggest a gargling sound. In Italian, gargoyle is "doccione," which means protruding gutter. Typically, water entered the creature and spouted out through its mouth. The term gargoyle included not only grotesquely-shaped waterspouts, but also other sorts of drains, including those in the shape of animals and people as well as non-ornamented gutters. In Medieval times, the grotesque shapes of gargoyles were used to frighten the illiterate people and demonstrate the concept of evil. Congregants also believed that gargoyles kept away evil from the church by frightening evil spirits.

The original gargoyles on Notre Dame cathedral were constructed in the late 12th century. However, during the French Revolution in the late 18th century, fanatics stripped the gargoyles from the building and destroyed them. In the 1830s, an architect restored the gargoyles to the sides of the cathedral. They bore little resemblance to the originals, but were rather renditions as interpreted by the contemporary artisans.

Learn more about Modern Europe

Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why was the Eiffel Tower built?

    A:

    The Eiffel Tower was built to serve as a gateway into the World's Fair held in Paris in 1889. Initially only built as a temporary structure, meant to last less than 20 years, it has since become one of the world's architectural wonders. It is rigorously maintained for safety and to preserve the integrity of the structure.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    When was the Titanic finished being built?

    A:

    On April 2, 1912, the Titanic was finished being built. The keel and hull were completed on May 13, 1911, but workers needed another year to install the engines and funnels and finish the interior.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are rights of tenants in Pennsylvania?

    A:

    In Pennsylvania, tenant rights include quiet enjoyment, habitability, return of security deposit if no damage to building exists, the right to have a notice of perceived violations and advanced notice of evictions. The rights of Pennsylvania tenants reside in the Pennsylvania Tenant-Landlord Handbook, which also outlines the rights and duties of landlords. The Handbook serves as a legally enforceable guide outlining the basic rights of tenants living around the State of Pennsylvania.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why were trenches built in WWI?

    A:

    Trenches were built during World War I to protect stalemated troops on both sides from artillery and rifle fire. Although the war began with rapid movement of the German army, when the Allied forces stopped the Germans, both sides dug trenches to help avoid losing territory they had gained.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore