Notre Dame
A hole is seen in the dome inside Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, Tuesday, April 16, 2019. (Christophe Petit Tesson, Pool)

  • French President Emmanuel Macron announced a plan for the Notre-Dame Cathedral to be rebuilt ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympics.
  • Experts, however said that the process of rebuilding the fire-ravaged cathedral could take much longer.
  • The fire destroyed much of the cathedral's roof, took down its spire, and water-logged parts of the building's structure.
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    French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to rebuild the fire-ravaged Notre-Dame Cathedral within five years, but experts say it could take far longer.

    The massive fire took down the cathedral's spire, burned through its wooden roof, and left parts of the structure water damaged.

    Nearly R14 billion has been donated for the cathedral's reconstruction, and Macron said renovations would be finished ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympics.

    Experts, however, have said the timeline appears to be far too short for the 850-year-old cathedral, which originally took nearly 200 years to become what it was before Monday's fire.

    Kevin D. Murphy, a history of art professor at Vanderbilt University and an architecture history expert, told INSIDER that he supports Macron's pledge to rebuilt, but worries it could take longer.

    "Building it that fast would depend on technical and structural issues, which could take some time to evaluate," he said.

    Murphy told INSIDER that officials will first have to evaluate the structure and decide on how to design the reconstruction before rebuilding even begins.

    "I hope it will take five years, but I wouldn't be surprised if it takes longer," Murphy said.

    Additionally, Murphy said, architects will have to decide whether or not they want to use similar materials to what were in the building before, or replace the oak roof with a fire-proof steel.

    The roof and spire of Notre-Dame were made of ancient oak, and a French preservationist told French media that there are no longer trees tall enough to replace the wooden beams.

    French conservation architect Pierluigi Pericolo told Inrocks magazine that the reconstruction would take "no less than 15 years," according to the Associated Press.

    He said it could take up to five years to evaluate the cathedral's stability.

    "It's a fundamental step, and very complex, because it's difficult to send workers into a monument whose vaulted ceilings are swollen with water," Pericolo told France-Info. "The end of the fire doesn't mean the edifice is totally saved. The stone can deteriorate when it is exposed to high temperatures and change its mineral composition and fracture inside."

    Emily Guerry, a senior lecturer in Medieval European History at Britain's University of Kent, told CBS News that rebuilding could take up to 40 years.

    "If we're very fast maybe 20 years, but it will be a generation. This is going to be a huge communal effort. The cost will be exorbitant," she said.

    An expert estimated to Reuters that the cost would be similar to UK Parliament renovations, around R122 billion.

    Contributions for rebuilding have come from Apple, L'Oreal, Chanel and Dior, as well as Catholic parishioners around the world, AP reported.

    Presidential cultural heritage envoy Stephane Bern said that as of Wednesday morning, €880 million – around R14 billion – had been raised for the reconstruction effort.

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