10 famous monuments that were destroyed by fire

Smalljim/Wikimedia Commons/Creative CommonsThe Royal Clarence Hotel was destroyed in a 2016 fire.
  • The Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, caught fire on Monday.
  • Other historic buildings have been completely destroyed in fires.
  • Museums in Brazil and New Dehli have lost priceless artifacts due to fire damage.
  • One of the last remaining covered bridges in California was destroyed in the Camp Fire in 2018.
  • Visit INSIDER.com for more stories.

The 850-year-old Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, caught fire on Monday evening to the horror of onlookers both in Paris and around the world.

As a Catholic place of worship, a museum full of art and artifacts, and a beloved and historic tourist site, damage to the cathedral is widely regarded as a cultural tragedy. The full extent of the destruction is not known, but the church’s iconic spire collapsed within an hour of the fire starting.

It’s not the first time an iconic building has gone up in flames. Museums, palaces, hotels, and libraries in other parts of the world have been completely destroyed due to fire damage as well.


Louvain University library — Louvain, Belgium

Louvain University was known for having one of the finest libraries in Europe. Then it burned down twice – once in 1914 when the Germans invaded Belgium during World War I, and again during the Battle for Leuven in 1940 during World War II. It was rebuilt a second time in 1951 and became a protected monument in 1987.


Souk marketplace — Aleppo, Syria

During the Ottoman period of the 16th century, the souk marketplace in Aleppo, Syria, was a center of cultural exchange and trade of soap, textiles, and spices, according to World Monuments Fund. The souk was destroyed in a 2012 fire related to fighting between the Syrian government and opposition groups.


Crystal Palace — London, England

Wikimedia Commons/Public DomainCrystal Palace on fire in 1936.

The Crystal Palace was designed by Sir Joseph Paxton. It housed the Great Exhibition of 1851 held by Prince Albert and Queen Victoria and the Royal Society of Arts, making use of its eight miles of display tables.

The palace was destroyed in a fire in 1936 and its remains were fully demolished in 1941.


Paleis voor Volksvlijt — Amsterdam, Netherlands

Jacob Olie/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain‘Palace of the People’ in Amsterdam around 1890.

Architect Cornelis Oudtshoorn designed the Paleis voor Volksvlijt, which was completed in 1864. It became a center of arts and culture with a 9,000-person theatre.

In 1961, the “Palace of the People,” as it was called, burned down. The Nederlandsche Bank headquarters was built in its place in 1968.


National Museum of Brazil — Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Lu Brito/Wikimedia Commons/Creative CommonsThe remains of the National Museum of Brazil.

The National Museum of Brazil caught fire in 2018 after having closed to visitors. There were no injuries, but museum officials said that 90% of its artifacts were lost and that the Egyptology collection was completely destroyed, according to The Guardian.


The Honey Run Covered Bridge — Butte County, California

According to the New York State Covered Bridge Society, a covered bridge is, “a bridge originally constructed as a self-supporting, wooden-truss system, covered bridge.”

The Honey Run Covered Bridge was built in 1886. It was the only covered bridge in the US with three unequal sections and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The bridge was destroyed in the Camp Fire that devastated Northern California in 2018, but funds are being raised to build a replica.


Royal Clarence Hotel — Devon, England

Smalljim/Wikimedia Commons/Creative CommonsThe Royal Clarence Hotel after the fire in 2016.

The Royal Clarence Hotel was built in 1769 and got its name after the Duchess of Clarence stayed there in 1827.

Over 1,000 firefighters fought to contain the blaze when a fire broke out in 2016, but the hotel collapsed, according to the BBC.


National Museum of Natural History — New Delhi, India

The National Museum of Natural History in New Dehli was founded in 1972 and was famous for its 160-million-year-old sauropod dinosaur fossil, according to the Smithsonian.

After a 2016 fire, New Dehli’s deputy chief fire officer said that most of the museum’s collection was destroyed.


The Beach Hotel — Galveston Island, Texas

Public Domain/Wikimedia CommonsThe Beach Hotel on Galveston Beach circa 1890.

Nicholas J. Clayton designed the Beach Hotel in 1882. It mysteriously burned down in 1898 after only being open for 16 years. Some speculate that the hotel was found to be dumping its sewage into the Gulf of Mexico and the city closed it down because of it.


Tuileries Palace — Paris, France

Paris des Utopies (Yvan Christ)/Wikimedia Commons/Public DomainThe Tuileries Palace and the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel circa 1860.

Catherine de Médicis, queen consort of Henry II of France,commissioned the Tuileries Palace as a royal residence in 1564. It was destroyed in 1871 due to arson. An arch modelled after 16th century architect Philibert Delorme’s style was reconstructed in the gardens.

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