For over 1,000 years pilgrims have been flocking to Chartres. It is not the city which attracts them, but the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Then as now it fascinates people, albeit for different reasons. When it was built people saw it as a holy place, a place which promised blessing, hope and relief from the trials and tribulations of life. At that time the faithful understood its message immediately, for them the cathedral was a picture book. For people in the 20th century it is an over-dimensional edifice of stone, a closed book. They have to learn to decipher laboriously, letter by letter, what it has to say. The vibrant pictorial language and the fascinating architecture of this church recreate a vivid portrait of an age which was named the Dark Middle Ages because, for such a long time, very few people had any knowledge or understanding of it. No building is better able to cast light upon this darkness than this cathedral.