Cathedral of Chartres dedicated

Around the fourth century A.D. the French city of Chartres become the seat of the bishop — a cathedral in Latin — which meant a grand new church had to be constructed, a landmark for one of the most important religious figures in the land. Historical records show at least four such churches were built in Chartres, none likely not as grand as the one that stands today, which amazingly has survived largely intact through eight centuries.

On this day, October 24, in 1260, the Cathedral of Chartres was dedicated by King Louis — the first Louis, which gives a sense of just how ancient the building is.

Today we tend to think of cathedrals exclusively as places of worship, but when it was first erected the Cathedral was the center of commercial and civic life. Most trade went on through the cathedral, with specific territories allocated to fruit and meat sellers, separated from those who sold textiles, and money changers — necessary when every town had their own form of currency — were located among the benches, or banques, throughout the church.