Chartres


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Chartres

(shär`trə), city (1990 pop. 41,850), capital of Eure-et-Loir dept., NW France, in Orléanais, on the Eure River. Chartres is of great historic and artistic interest; it is also a regional market with many industries, including metallurgy, and the production of perfumes and electronic equipment. An ancient town, it was the probable site of the great assemblies of the druidsdruids
, priests of ancient Celtic Britain, Ireland, and Gaul and probably of all ancient Celtic peoples, known to have existed at least since the 3d cent. BC. Information about them is derived almost exclusively from the testimony of Roman authors, notably Julius Caesar, and
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. The Normans burned it in 858. During the Middle Ages Chartres was the seat of a countship; it became a possession of the French crown in 1286. Francis I made it a duchy in 1528. Chartres' fame today stems largely from its magnificent Gothic Cathedral of Notre Dame (12th to 13th cent.), remarkable for its two spires (375 ft/114 m and 350 ft/107 m), its stained glass windows, and its superb sculpture. It is widely considered to be the finest Gothic cathedral in the world. Henry Adams in Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres made it a symbol of the medieval spirit. Inside the cathedral St. Bernhard of Clairvaux preached the Second Crusade (1146) and Henry IV was crowned king of France (1594).

Chartres

 

a city in northern France, situated on the Eure River. Capital of Eure-et-Loir Department. Population, 72,000 (1975). Chartres is a transportation junction and commercial center of an agricultural region. It has enterprises for the manufacture of agricultural machinery, electrical equipment, fertilizers and other chemical products, pharmaceuticals, and food products, mainly flour and beer. The city also produces decorative glassware and ready-to-wear clothing.

The center of Chartres has preserved its medieval plan. Its numerous buildings dating from the 13th to 18th centuries include the Romanesque abbey of St. Pierre (12th–13th centuries), the churches of St. Brice (11th century) and St. Andre (12th century), the Gothic cathedral of St. Pierre, and the Renaissance cathedral of St. Aignan (16th-17th centuries).

Chartres is famous for the cathedral of Notre Dame, originally built in the Romanesque style in the 11th century. The old cathedral was destroyed by fire in 1194; only the crypt and the base of the west tower were preserved. It was rebuilt in the High Gothic style by 1260, and additional construction was carried out between the 14th and 16th centuries. The cathedral is also known for the rich sculptural work of its Romanesque royal portal on the west (1145–1155) and the Gothic portals on the north and south. It is especially noted for its stained-glass windows (12th–13th centuries).

REFERENCES

Clerval, J. A. Guide Chartain: Chartres, sa cathédrale, ses monuments, 5th ed. Chartres, 1924.
Delaporte, V. Notre-Dame de Chartres. [Album. Paris, 1957.]

Chartres

a city in NW France: Gothic cathedral; market town. Pop.: 40 361 (1999)
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