The Easel

Looted landmarks: how Notre-Dame, Big Ben and St Mark’s were stolen from the east

Ignore the emotive headline. The glorious architecture of Europe’s gothic cathedrals drew heavily on Islamic designs, brought back by those returning from the Crusades. Notre Dame is just one example – its twin towers, ribbed vaults and pointed arches “come directly from Syria’s Qalb Lozeh fifth-century church.” Most cathedral glass in France and England used Syrian know-how. It was one-way traffic – “very little went the other way”.