Fears for Notre Dame's treasures after fire at Paris cathedral

The fate of many of the Notre Dame's treasures is still unknown after the huge fire which ripped through the 850-year-old cathedral on Monday. 

Experts are today entering the wreckage of the Paris landmark to find which of the precious artworks and religious relics have been saved.   

The mayor of Paris said that one of the most irreplaceable items - the crown of thorns reputed to have been worn by Jesus at his crucifixion - was safe last night. 

But there are fears for the church's 13th-century stained glass windows and its magnificent organ, while the wooden roof and ornate spire have gone.  

Safe: Crown of thorns

One of the cathedral's most precious objects, a relic purported to be the crown of thorns worn by Jesus Christ on the cross, was whisked away to a secure facility.

Reports in France stated that the chaplain of the Paris fire brigade had gone inside with the firefighters to save the crown.  

Experts said the irreplaceable item had been kept in a 'very safe place'.  

The 'Crown of Thorns' said to have been worn by Jesus Christ at his crucifixion, pictured in Notre Dame cathedral, has been saved from Monday night's blaze

The 'Crown of Thorns' said to have been worn by Jesus Christ at his crucifixion, pictured in Notre Dame cathedral, has been saved from Monday night's blaze 

Safe: Tunic of St Louis

A 13th-century linen tunic which is thought to have belonged to King Louis IX - canonised as St Louis - was also made safe, the mayor of Paris said. 

In his 44-year reign Louis took part in the Crusades and established early principles of justice such as the presumption of innocence. 

He was proclaimed a saint in 1297 - the only French monarch to receive the honour - and was responsible for acquiring the Crown of Thorns.  

Safe: Statues airlifted from the roof

Renovation was already taking place at the cathedral - which may have been linked to the fire. 

As part of that work, 16 copper statues were airlifted from near the now-destroyed spire just days before the blaze. 

Some copper statues, including this sculpture of St John, were removed from the top of Notre Dame just days before the blaze hit the Paris cathedral

Some copper statues, including this sculpture of St John, were removed from the top of Notre Dame just days before the blaze hit the Paris cathedral 

Apparently safe: Descent from the Cross 

This 1723 statue by Nicolas Coustou sits on the cathedral's high altar. It shows Jesus being taken down from the cross after his crucifixion. 

Initial pictures showed the cross still standing with part of the sculpture visible, although it was surrounded by smoke and debris.   

The cross and statue on Notre Dame's altar - sculpted by Nicolas Coustou in 1723 - were apparently intact after the blaze but surrounded by smoke and debris

The cross and statue on Notre Dame's altar - sculpted by Nicolas Coustou in 1723 - were apparently intact after the blaze but surrounded by smoke and debris 

Apparently safe: Cathedral bells

Despite fire racing through Notre Dame's roof, firefighters were able to prevent the blaze consuming the cathedral's main structure, including its two bell towers.

The bells that have rung out at key moments in France's history were thought to be safe.  

Emmanuel, the largest bell, was lifted into the south tower in 1685 and weighs over 23 tonnes. Victor Hugo's Hunchback of Notre Dame, Quasimodo, was the cathedral's bell-ringer. 

The two cathedral bell towers were still standing this morning with the fire extinguished, offering some hope to Parisians who feared the entire building would collapse

The two cathedral bell towers were still standing this morning with the fire extinguished, offering some hope to Parisians who feared the entire building would collapse 

Unknown: North, West and South Rose Windows

The magnificent stained-glass artworks in the cathedral date back to the 13th century. 

A French journalist at the scene last night

the north window appeared to be safe with no sign of broken glass although firefighters remained concerned.     

There have been conflicting reports on the fate of the other two windows but one picture this morning appeared to show the south one largely intact. 

Architecture professor Julio Bermudez

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