PARIS, April 16 (Xinhua) -- UN educational, cultural and scientific body, UNESCO's Director-General Andrey Azoulay on Tuesday proposed to help in rebuilding the medieval cathedral of Notre Dame of Paris, proposing experts and special mission to see how to preserve the iconic monument.
"UNESCO stands by France in safeguarding and rehabilitating this invaluable heritage. We are already in contact with experts and ready to send an emergency mission to assess the damage, preserve what can be preserved and plan short and medium-term measures," Azoulay said.
She also pledged to accompany and support authorities in the rehabilitation and the recovery of original elements and to develop an action plan to avoid further deterioration of the site.
"We are all heartbroken. Notre Dame represents a historically, architecturally, and spiritually, outstanding universal heritage. It is also a monument of literary heritage, a place that is unique in our collective imagination," Azoulay said.
"This drama reminds us of the power of heritage that connects us to one another. We are receiving messages of support from all over the world," she added.
Notre Dame is France's finest example of Gothic architecture, with an innovative use of rib vaults and buttresses, stained glass rosettes and sculpted ornaments.
The cathedral, whose construction began in 1160 and continued over a century, is part of the World Heritage site of "Paris, Banks of the Seine" inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1991.