Source Pravda.Ru

Russian Alcatraz burnt down

A tower of the Yakutsk prison, a historic monument and symbol of Yakutsk, burnt down at 4:00 a.m. local time Thursday.

The tower is depicted in the central part of the Yakutsk city emblem, it is a usual component of all souvenirs made for tourists visiting Yakutsk. The city emblem depicts a silver small square shield with an outline of the Yakutsk prison and the date of 1632, the date of the city’s birth. The prison tower was built in 1685 – 1687, and despite its 320 age it is still in very good condition. The tower was turned into a museum. The City Day of Yakutsk will be celebrated in September that is to mark its 370 birthday. It was originally planned that the prison tower would become the central place for ceremonial arrangements dedicated to the city anniversary.

Attempts to set the tower on fire were made several years ago, however, only gates were destroyed by the fire then. This time the historic monument has completely burnt down. Local authorities already decided to reconstruct the historic monument, but construction can be completed next summer only.

Design and construction of the tower place it among the most prominent examples of the Russian art of wooden fortress architecture.

Investigation of the accident considers several versions, an arson version including. Officials of the National museum which expositions were situated in the tower say that two yard-keepers fired from the museum a day before the fire can be suspected of the arson.

Publication prepared by Yelena Kiseleva PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/culture/2002/08/23/46096.html

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