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Oct 31, 2020: Marks the 1st anniversary of the massive fire that engulfed Okinawa's Shuri Castle - a 500-yr old world heritage site
October 31, 2020 at 3:12 PM PHT (GMT +8)
It has been a year since a massive fire engulfed all the main structures of Shuri Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site on Japan's southern island of Okinawa, leading to the destruction of approximately 4,000 square meters of area occupied by more than six wooden buildings.
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Photo Courtesy: EFP
On October 31, 2019, a fire broke out at the vicinity at around 2:40 am of Wednesday (Japan time) which is believed caused by an electrical fault. More than 100 firefighters were called to the scene and battled the flames for more than 10 hours, extinguishing them by Thursday afternoon, a day after the fire started. Fortunately, no injuries have been reported but more than six wooden buildings in the area occupying over 4,000 square meters were destroyed.
Many citizens have been voicing their hopes for the restoration of the gutted buildings and on March of this year, the Japanese government decided to restore the historical site by 2026 after embarking on full-fledged reconstruction in 2022. Starting today, a four-day festival started at the Shuri Castle's vicinity to commemorate the event. The festival started with traditional music and a parade by locals dressed as the indigenous king and queen and their entourage. It will end on Tuesday.
The castle has burned down several times including during World War II and the original Shuri Castle dates back to the 14th century and housed the monarchs of the Ryukyu Kingdom, which spanned 450 years before Okinawa was annexed by Japan in 1879.