Notre Dame (the one in Paris, AKA Notre-Dame de Paris) is an incredible structure, a marvel.

A historic Catholic cathedral on the eastern half of one of two remaining natural islands in the River Seine,  Notre Dame is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, and is among the largest and most well-known church buildings in the world.

They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, and I think this rings true with Notre Dame.  I mean, is it just me, or while travelling have you not seen one or two building that make you do a double take, that you half recognise, that (excuse my geekiness here) think might be a glitch in the matrix.

For me Notre Dame is certainly one of those structures, and here’s a little bit of evidence to back up me up.

Notre Dame – Paris, France

In excess of 14 million people visit Notre Dame each year.  That’s on a par with BOTH the Eiffel Tower and The Louvre added together.

That’s crazy!

But then take into consideration that Notre Dame is large enough to hold 6000 worshippers at any one time, and maybe you can start to understand the scale of this incredible cathedral, and just how it can accommodate so many visitors.

Work on Notre Dame started in 1163 and was and largely completed by the early 14th century.  However the Cathedral was badly damaged during the revolution, this led to vast rebuildings which were led by rchitect Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc.

notre-dame-paris

Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica

notre dame, hcmc

Siagon, Vietnam

Siagon, or HCMC as its now more commonly known, was my last stop in Vietnam after an amazing 2 weeks spent working my way from north to south.

As it was my last stop, I didnt plan a whole lot for my time in HCMC.  A couple of days of rest before heading back to Blighty and my place of work were the order of the day.

In turn, Notre Dame, or a building that looks very much like Notre Dame was the last thing I expected to see, but there it was.

Officially named as the Basilica of Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception, established by French Colonists, the cathedral was constructed between 1863 and 1880, and now stands at 60 metres tall. All the materials were directly imported from France, such as the red bricks for the outside walls.  These walls are a favoured backdrop for new wed couples and their wedding photographers.   Look out for the traditional red wedding dresses. Hint – red is a lucky colour.

Look outside of the cathedral and you will find a statue of the Virgin Mary. In 2005 this statue is said to have shed tears in an act of God.  Whilst the miracle was never recognised by the Vatican, it did cause a huge roadblock at the time, with Police unable to clear the streets for people wanting to see the crying statue.

The mass in Vietnamese and English at the Cathedral is usually held on Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

Sacred Heart Cathedral

notre-dame-sarajevo

Sarajevo, Bosnia

Exploring the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo was not really the plan.  I travelled to Bosnia in order to go snowboarding, but a lack of snow on the mountains put pay to that idea, and so I found myself wandering the cobbled streets of Sarajevo.

As back up plans go, the streets of Sarajevo weren’t bad at all (I also took a quick trip on the train to Mostar too – amazing!).  I’ll admit I learned a lot during my week in Bosnia, especially around the break up of the former Czechoslovakia, and the siege of Sarajevo, but I also learned/found that Sarajevo has its very own Notre Dame … well it looks a lot like it to me!

The Sacred Heart Cathedral is a Christian church and is the largest cathedral in Bosnia. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Vrhbosna, and center of Catholic worship in the city. The Cathedral is located in the city’s Old Town district.

Sacred Heart Cathedral was built in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, an important Catholic concept. The building is in the Neo-Gothic style, with Romanesque Revival elements. The building was awarded to the Viennese contractor Baron Karl Schwarz with supervising architect Josip Vancaš. He modeled it after the Notre-Dame in Dijon (France). Work began on 25 August 1884, and was completed on 9 November 1887. The Bishop of Dubrovnik was present for the consecration on 14 September 1889.

So there you have it, proof that I’m not going mad and that there are at least 3 amazing cathedrals across the world that look very alike. The original being the Parisian Notre Dame.

Of course there’s probably more instances of architectural doppelgängers, or even direct replicas.  For example I know that the/a version of the Statue Of Liberty can be found in 2 different locations –  NYC and Paris.

Can you think of any others?  Did you know that both HCMC and Sarajevo had their own versions of Notre Dame?

Notre Dame

Notre Dame Paris