The frame of one of the medieval towers of Carcassonne has been damaged by a fire caused by the fireworks from this site, declared world heritage by the Unesco on 14 July, a-t-on learned from the ” Centre des monuments nationaux. The fire, which occurred during the pyrotechnic show at the top of the tower known as the Inquisition, has been very quickly contained by the fire-place, indicated to the AFP the president of the Centre, Philippe Bélaval, who visited the site Monday.
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The structure, dating back to its oldest parts of the great renovation of the medieval city conducted in the Nineteenth century “was not burned in its entirety”, but the exact impact of fire and water “for its stability and waterproofing” remains to be determined, he said. In anticipation of this study, begun as early as Monday, and the work which will be deemed necessary, the section of the walls around the tower has been closed to the public, and there will be “without doubt a tarp on the roof as a precaution”, said Philippe Bélaval. In any case, there should be an event “of a comparable gravity” to the fire of Our Lady, a-t-he stressed.
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According to the assumptions made both by the Centre as the police, the fire may have been caused by a rocket being slid in the slates of the roof, or by a fall-out of incandescent material. “An investigation will be opened” to determine the exact causes, according to Philippe Bélaval. The loss is the second in less than a decade to hit a monument of the medieval city, caused by the fireworks show which is since decades a local attraction. In 2011, it is the roof of the square tower of the bishop that had been damaged. “It belongs to the city and the prefect to see if the security conditions are satisfactory, and if there is a need to review the terms and conditions” of the fireworks, said Philippe Bélaval.
Located on the right bank of the Aude river, the cité de Carcassonne has been declared a Unesco world Heritage site in 1997. With more than three million visitors each year, it is a medieval complex unique in Europe by its size and its state of conservation. It owes its exceptional importance to the work of restoration undertaken during the second half of the Nineteenth century by Viollet-le-Duc.