Chartres Cathedral (full name Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres), dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was a major destination for pilgrims throughout the western world. It is one of the most perfect and best preserved works of early 13th-century religious architecture. Its harmonious architecture and ornamentation, representing the high point of the first Gothic period, and its significant influence on mediaeval Christian art, make Chartres Cathedral an essential landmark in the history of European architecture. Its outstanding stained-glass windows, its 12th and 13th-century statues, and its miraculously preserved painted décor, make the cathedral one of the most remarkable and best preserved examples of Gothic art.
Criterion (i): Chartres Cathedral was built relatively rapidly and almost without interruption; through its harmonious architecture, its stained glass, its sculptures and its paintings, it is a perfect example of one of the most characteristic aspects of mediaeval art.
Criterion (ii): Chartres Cathedral had a considerable influence on the development of Gothic art in France and elsewhere. The architects of the cathedrals of Reims, Amiens and Beauvais built on its basic design, which was imitated as far afield as Cologne in Germany, Westminster in England, and Leon in Spain. The influence of the stained-glass workshop of Chartres spread to Bourges, Sens, Le Mans, Tours, Poitiers, Rouen, and Canterbury.
Criterion (iv): Chartres Cathedral is both a symbol and an archetype: it is the ultimate example of the cultural, social and aesthetic reality of the Gothic cathedral.