Chartres shär´trə [key], city (1990 pop. 41,850), capital of Eure-et-Loir dept., NW France, in Orléanais, on the Eure River. Chartres is of great historic and artistic interest; it is also a regional market with many industries, including metallurgy, and the production of perfumes and electronic equipment. An ancient town, it was the probable site of the great assemblies of the druids . The Normans burned it in 858. During the Middle Ages Chartres was the seat of a countship; it became a possession of the French crown in 1286. Francis I made it a duchy in 1528. Chartres' fame today stems largely from its magnificent Gothic Cathedral of Notre Dame (12th to 13th cent.), remarkable for its two spires (375 ft/114 m and 350 ft/107 m), its stained glass windows, and its superb sculpture. It is widely considered to be the finest Gothic cathedral in the world. Henry Adams in Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres made it a symbol of the medieval spirit. Inside the cathedral St. Bernhard of Clairvaux preached the Second Crusade (1146) and Henry IV was crowned king of France (1594).
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