Children playing with matches has led to a fire gutting one of Slovakia’s most important medieval castles on Saturday. Krasna Horka, which was built in the 14th century, has suffered extensive damage, with the castle’s roof, the exposition in the Gothic palace and the bell tower were completely destroyed. The heat from the flames even melted down three bells from the bell tower.
Although there were fears that much of the castle’s collection of artefacts were also destroyed in the fire, it seems that only the upper parts of the castle were damaged in the fire. Daniel Lipšic, Slovakia’s Interior Minister, has announced that “the vast majority of exhibits remained undamaged.”
Jana Mesarova, a police spokeswoman, said “A unit sent to the site found that two local boys aged 11 and 12 were trying to light up a cigarette and because of careless use of safety matches, they set grass at the castle hill on fire.”
Over 84 firefighters fought the blaze, but the first spread up the hill to the castle.
Situated above the village of Krásnohorské Podhradie in the eastern region of Košice, Krasna Horka is considered a National Cultural Monument of the Slovak Republic. The first written records of the castle dates back to 1333. In April 2011 it was reopened to the public after several months of renovations.