UNESCO: Notre Dame can evolve in its rebuilding

The cathedral in the heart of Paris was devastated by a fire Monday evening that raced through its massive wooden roof. (Reuters)

The UN’s cultural agency said the reconstruction of Notre Dame must protect the universal value of the site but that it doesn’t mean the cathedral must be rebuilt exactly as it was.

A delegation from UNESCO, which oversees global heritage issues, met with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Friday.

According to Macron’s office, UNESCO representatives said they were ready to help with the reconstruction of Notre Dame, especially by providing technical expertise.

UNESCO director-general Audrey Azoulay said the monument’s “integrity and authenticity” must be respected, since it’s a World Heritage site, but that doesn’t mean the site must remain unchanged. The comments were reported by Macron’s office.

UNESCO formally recognizes the right of each generation to participate in humanity’s heritage “including through adaptation to natural and historic processes of change and transformation” and “new possibilities offered by evolving technologies.”

The Paris fire brigade spokesman says Notre Dame Cathedral has been secured and firefighters will leave the site on Friday night.

The cathedral in the heart of Paris was devastated by a fire Monday evening that raced through its massive wooden roof.

Firefighters have been credited with preventing the building from burning to the ground in a “chain-reaction collapse” by aggressively protecting the wooden supports in its twin medieval bell towers from the flames.

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