Senlis Cathedral was built, for the most part, during the third quarter of the 12th century, when the royal city of Senlis was experiencing a true 'golden age'. It was profoundly renovated in the 13th and 16th centuries.
With its portal of the crowning of the Virgin (12th century), its monumental 78 meter south tower (13th century) and transept facades all masterpieces of the high and late Gothic, Notre Dame de Senlis takes its place among the most noticeable cathedrals in France.
The construction of the first cathedral is located at the end of the 4th or the beginning of the 5th century within the perimeter of the enclosure. The cathedral being the seat of a bishop's authority, the presence of a first bishop led to its construction. The word 'cathedral' comes from the Latin cathedra and the Greek kathedra, derived from hedra which means 'chair'. The ensemble formed the episcopal group: buildings (the cloister, the baptistry, the episcopal palace) grouped around the cathedral. The common buildings of the canons must have been located to the north of the present site of the cathedral, as archaeological excavations have revealed the presence of kitchens before the 12th and 13th centuries.
The construction of Notre-Dame de Senlis was started around 1153 on the site of older sanctuaries, under the impulse of Bishop Pierre (1134-1151). The main drivers of this construction were the frequent presence of the kings of France, and the very strong personality of the bishop. The financing of the construction was essentially from the work of the bishops who were financially less well off than the other bishops of the region, their sees were small in size and thus had quite the modest income of the diocese. This explains the small size of the sanctuary. The participation of the king and the canons were almost non-existent.
Construction began simultaneously at both the east and west ends of the building. In 1160, the central portal of the western façade was already done. In 1167, the cathedral already had its choir and its western façade. In 1175 the nave was connected to the choir. Around 1180, the vaulted cathedral was almost completed except for the transepts. However, it was consecrated on 16 June 1191 by the Archbishop of Reims Guillaume of the White Hands. Its construction lasted about 40 years; but it was still lacking its transepts.
The cathedral was greatly altered in the 13th century. Around 1240, the southern tower was extended by a remarkable two-storey spire, a magnificent jewel of the cathedral, and the interior perspective was interrupted by a piercing transept which left the nave shorter than the choir.
At the end of the 14th century, the chapter house was built, and around 1465 there was added the Bailli chapel, founded by Gilles de Rouvroy, known as Saint-Simon, bailiff of Senlis and ancestor of the Duke of Saint-Simon. He was buried there in 1477, as well as some of his descendants.
In 1504, a fire, caused by lightning, destroyed the framework and caused the vaults to collapse, with the exception of that of the first bay. Thanks to the donations of the kings Louis XII and Francis I, the upper parts of the cathedral were reconstructed by raising them by 6 metres, the aisles were doubled and the side facades had a very rich flamboyant decoration. The restoration began in 1506 and lasted until 1515.
In 1520, the façade of the southern transept was added. Its magnificent portal was built by Martin Chambiges and continued by his son Pierre; it dates from 1538 and the north portal is from 1560. The eastern chapels date from the same time.
In 1671 the chapel of the Sacred Heart was constructed on the ancient Gallo-Roman wall. In 1777 the choir received a neo-classical decoration which can still be seen today.
The French Revolution destroyed the furniture and destroyed the heads of statues and columns of the western portal, which were replaced in the middle of the 19th century.
In 1986, the restoration of the interior was completed, and in 1993 the restoration of the spire was completed.References:
The Walled City of Jajce is a medieval fortified nucleus of Jajce in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with citadel high above town on top of pyramidal-shaped steep hill, enclosed with approximately 1,300 metres long defensive walls,. It is one of the best preserved fortified capitals of the Bosnian Kingdom, the last stronghold before the kingdom dissolved under the pressure of military advancement at the onset of Ottoman Empire takeover.
The entire complex of the Walled city of Jajce, with the citadel, city ramparts, watchtower Medvjed-kula, and two main city gate-towers lies on the southern slope of a large rocky pyramid at the confluence of the rivers Pliva and Vrbas, enclosed by these rivers from the south-southwest, with the bed of the Pliva, and east-southeast by the river Vrbas gorge.
The fortress was built by Hrvoje Vukčić Hrvatinić, the founder of Jajce. However, the city became the seat of the Bosnian kings, hence the royal coat of arms decoration on the citadel entrance. A part of the wall was built by the Hungarian King, while the Ottomans erected the powder magazine. The walls are high and the castle was built on a hill that is egg shaped, the rivers Pliva and Vrbas also protect the castle. There is no rampart on the south and west.
Jajce was first built in the 14th century and served as the capital of the independent Kingdom of Bosnia during its time. The town has gates as fortifications, as well as a castle with walls which lead to the various gates around the town. About 10–20 kilometres from Jajce lies the Komotin Castle and town area which is older but smaller than Jajce. It is believed the town of Jajce was previously Komotin but was moved after the Black Death.
The first reference to the name of Jajce in written sources is from the year 1396, but the fortress had already existed by then. Jajce was the residence of the last Bosnian king Stjepan Tomasevic; the Ottomans besieged the town and executed him, but held it only for six months, before the Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus seized it at the siege of Jajce and established the Banovina of Jajce.
Skenderbeg Mihajlović besieged Jajce in 1501, but without success because he was defeated by Ivaniš Korvin assisted by Zrinski, Frankopan, Karlović and Cubor.
During this period, Queen Catherine restored the Saint Mary"s Church in Jajce, today the oldest church in town. Eventually, in 1527, Jajce became the last Bosnian town to fall to Ottoman rule. The town then lost its strategic importance, as the border moved further north and west.
Jajce passed with the rest of Bosnia and Herzegovina under the administration of Austria-Hungary in 1878. The Franciscan monastery of Saint Luke was completed in 1885.
The Walled city of Jajce is located at the confluence of the Pliva and Vrbas rivers. It was founded and started developing in the Middle Ages and acquired its final form during the Ottoman period. There are several churches and mosques built in different times during different rules, making Jajce a rather diverse town in this aspect. It is declared National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and, as the old Jajce city core, including the waterfall, and other individual sites outside the walled city perimeter, such as the Jajce Mithraeum, it is designated as The natural and architectural ensemble of Jajce and proposed as such for inscription into the UNESCO"s World Heritage Site list. The bid for inscription is currently placed on the UNESCO Tentative list.