Source - Telegraph
Live footage of Moscow led some to believe the Kremlin was on fire, but it was the Novodevichy Convent that was ablaze
An unexplained blaze engulfed the tallest bell tower of one of Russia’s most famous convents late yesterday evening sending a column of fire over the centre of Moscow.
The flames took hold at the 16th century Novodevichy Convent, a Unesco world heritage site, shortly after 10.30pm local time.
The fire spread up the bell tower, once the tallest structures in the city, which pinnacles at height of 72 metres. Fire engines quickly arrived at the scene, according to Russian news agencies, but photographs showed their fire hoses struggling to reach the flames.
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At its peak, the blaze reportedly reached a size of hundred square metres but by midnight local time it was reportedly almost under control.
Initially, many speculated on social media that it was the Kremlin after a live feed showed the convent, which is four miles from the Kremlin, ablaze.
Novodevichy Convent is located in the south east of Moscow, near the Moskva River, but the height of the tower meant that the blaze was visible across the centre of the city. The monastery had been undergoing major repair work in recent months and was covered in scaffolding.
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Ringed by distinctive red brick walls, Novodevichy Convent was commissioned by the Grand Prince of Moscow in the 16th century. Other buildings at the site, including the bell tower, were later additions.
According to legend, Napoleon tried to blow up the Orthodox Christian convent when he retreated from Moscow in 1812, but it was saved by a group of nuns.
A popular tourist attraction, the complex is also home to Russia’s most famous cemetery where luminaries of Russian culture and politics are buried. The graves include those of writers Anton Chekhov, Nikolai Gogol and Mikhail Bulgakov, as well as Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and former Russian president Boris Yeltsin.
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