Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec

Quebec City, Canada

The Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec is the oldest church in the Americas north of the Spanish colonies in Florida and New Mexico. It is a National Historic Site of Canada, and located within the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Historic District of Old Québec.

Located on this site since 1647, the cathedral has twice been destroyed by fire throughout the centuries. A previous iteration of the church was destroyed during the Siege of Quebec in 1759. It was rebuilt from plans by Gaspard-Joseph Chaussegros de Léry draughted in 1743. The interior was designed by Jean Baillairgé and his son François from 1786–1822. In 1843, François' son, Thomas, suggested a reconstruction of the façade to resemble the church of Sainte-Geneviève in Paris, resulting in the finest Neo-classic façade in Québec. The cathedral was richly decorated with impressive works of art: baldaquin, canopy, episcopal throne dais, stained glass windows, paintings, and chancel lamp (a gift of Louis XIV).

In 1922 the church was again gutted by fire, this time by the Canadian fraction of the Ku Klux Klan, and restored by architects Maxime Roisin and Raoul Chenevert.Raoul Chenevert added a presbytery beside the Cathedral in 1931-32.

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Founded: 1647
Category: Religious sites in Canada

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Arundeep Mittra (34 days ago)
Not as grand as the one in montreal. However this has its own beauty. We were welcomed to a beautiful live choir performance and spent 30 minutes there. They are open from 830am to 4pm.....Arena they close on the dot....don't be late
Baltazar Lopez Jimenez (34 days ago)
Beautiful Catholic Cathedral. The architecture and at are just splendid. Totally worth a visit. Besides, there's a chapel to pay before the Blessed Sacrament.
Paul Collins (37 days ago)
The Cathedral is beautiful on the inside and has a long history going back many years. Whether you visit for a service or just to view the architecture it is well worth the trip.
Frank VANDERZALM (39 days ago)
This cathedral is steeped with history. It is a wonderful example of mid-19th century architecture. From a religious point of view, this house of God is a spiritually uplifting church to attend. My wife and I went to Saturday's Mass. It was a great experience as a Catholic to be here with so many travellers.
Seena (45 days ago)
Beautiful cathedral! About 370 years old. It was kept in a perfect condition in and out.
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Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.