100 Fixing the Calendar 1582

  Raising the Roofs At Chartres 1260

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75  Raising the Roofs At Chartres 1260 
AMONG THE GREAT cathedrals of Europe, none more purely set the tone for High Gothic architectural style than the Cathedral at Chartres. And while its competitors--Amiens, Reims, Notre-Dame--take the breath away, none is more beautiful. Chartres was the quintessential expression of the idea of a cathedral during the 12th and 13th centuries, a time in Europe when faith and money came together to erect structures such as the world had never seen. More stone was quarried in France alone, between 1050 and 1350, it is said, than in all of ancient Egypt. 
The very location of Chartres is holy, an early center for the cult of Mary and the site of at least four other churches. But this cathedral, dedicated in 1260, is transcendent, a soaring feat of architecture in which church builders literally raised the roof: The vaults are 116 feet high. Chartres's stained glass windows are considered the most magnificent in Europe, and the play of sapphire light across the sacred spaces and towering walls of stone makes the cathedral preeminent among those places on earth where, as T.S. Eliot put it, "prayer has been valid." 

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