The Cathedral of Chartres was dedicated on October 24, 1260, in the presence of King Louis IX (Saint Louis) of France. Located 50 miles southwest of Paris, the French High Gothic structure is the most recent of five buildings at the site. It was constructed rapidly between 1194 and 1250 and has seen only minor changes since the 13th century. The exterior’s heavy flying buttresses allowed for very large stained glass windows, the majority of which survive intact in original form. The north rose window (pictured, detail), depicting the Virgin Mary with Christ child at its center, is one of the greatest artistic achievements of human hands. It is fraught with symbolism – five concentric circles, each with 12 smaller windows – teaching lessons that link mankind with the divine. Chartres is now a World Heritage Site.