Oct. 30 (UPI) — The main building of Shuri Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Okinawa, Japan, has burned down in a predawn fire, authorities said.
Local police said the main hall and a nearby building have been destroyed, and a third building is still burning, Japan’s national broadcaster NHK reported.
The Naha city fire department said it received a call that the castle had ignited at around 2:40 a.m., Thursday, and rushed to the scene and as of 9 a.m. were still battling the blaze.
There have been no reports of injury or death and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Nearby residents are being evacuated, a police spokesperson said.
Mikiko Shiroma, the mayor of the Okinawa capital of Naha, told reporters she was saddened by the castle’s destruction.
The castle, the largest in Okinawa and a symbol of the island’s culture, was built around 500 years ago and was where the kings of the Ryukyu Dnystansty reigned for more than 400 years.
It was designated a National Treasure in 1933 but was burnt down during the Second World War. It was rebuilt in 1992.