Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 July 2019

Notre-Dame Cathedral fire and other world landmarks devastated by blazes

Windsor Castle, Brazil's National Museum, and several other heritage sites have been either completely or partially destroyed in a similar disaster

Like the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, engulfed in flames on Monday, several heritage sites around the world have been either completely or partially destroyed by fires before. Here are some examples.

York Minster

On July 9, 1984, a fire believed to have been triggered by a lightning strike caused severe damage to York Minster in northern England.

The massive blaze destroyed the roof of the south transept of the Gothic cathedral, which was completed in the 15th century.

Intense heat cracked its magnificent 16th-century stained glass Rose Window into tens of thousands of pieces but it was able to be repaired.

Restoration work on the minster was completed in 1988 at a cost of £2.25 million (about £5.1m today).

Brazil's National Museum

Overnight on September 3, 2018, Brazil's National Museum, north of Rio de Janeiro, was ravaged by a massive fire.

South America's largest natural history and anthropology museum held more than 20 million artefacts and 530,000 titles.

The museum was particularly reputed for the richness of its paleontology department with more than 26,000 fossils, including a dinosaur skeleton discovered in Brazil's central Minas Gerais.

Several specimen of species that disappeared in the fire included giant sloths and sabre-toothed tigers.

Venice opera house

In 1996, celebrated opera house La Fenice in Venice was gutted by fire.

With its near-perfect acoustics, La Fenice, opened in 1792, was one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world and one of the most famous in the history of opera.

Two electricians were sentenced to six and seven years in prison on negligence charges.

The theatre reopened in 2004.

Barcelona opera house

In 1994, the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona's world renowned opera house was destroyed by fire, too.

One of Spain's cultural jewels, the 150-year-old theatre was gutted in a blaze in which only the foyer and the horseshoe arch over the auditorium were left standing.

It has since been reconstructed.

Windsor Castle

A major fire at Windsor Castle, west of London, on November 20, 1992, destroyed the north-eastern part of the royal site, the queen's weekend residence.

Nine of the rooms were left unrecognisable by the fire, which started in the former Chapel Royal when a lighting projector too close to a curtain started the blaze during routine maintenance work.

It took 250 firefighters, over 15 hours and pumping more than 6.5 million litres of water to bring the flames under control.

The Castle reopened to the public in 1997, after five years of restoration.

Bosnia's National Library

Bosnia's 19th-century National Library was destroyed in the war-time siege of the city of Sarajevo, overnight on August 25 and 26, 1992.

It housed some two million books, old scripts, photographs and transcripts before it was shelled by Serbian forces who had Sarajevo under siege for three and a half years.

About 10 per cent of its resources were saved from the resulting fire.

Reconstruction works, part-financed by the European Union, began in 1996 and the new library was inaugurated in 2014.

Geneva's Grand Theatre

In 1951, the Grand Theatre of Geneva in Switzerland, built in the 19th century, was devastated in a fire that began during the preparation for a performance of Richard Wagner's "The Valkyrie".

It reopened in 1962.

Updated: April 16, 2019 03:36 PM