A fire broke out in Cairo’s Institute d’Egypte on Saturday as a result of a mis-fired Molotov cocktail launched by a protester in Egypt’s latest round of violence. The Institute d’Egypte was a research center founded by Napoleon Bonaparte during the French invasion in the 18th century, and housed many of Egypt’s oldest and most important documents.
The fire raged for 12 hours before subsiding, leaving little more than cinders behind for volunteers to salvage. Firefighters flooded the building with water in attempts to put the fire out, which added to the overall damage. The most devastating loss is a handwritten 24-volume document known as the Description l’Egypte, a multi-generational document which began during the French occupation.
The Hindustan Times reports: “The Description of Egypt is likely burned beyond repair. Its home, the two-story historic institute near Tahrir Square, is now in danger of collapsing after the roof caved in.”
“The violence erupted in Cairo Friday, when military forces guarding the Cabinet building, near the institute, cracked down on a 3-week-old sit-in to demand the country’s ruling generals hand power to a civilian authority. At least 14 people have been killed.”
“The burning of such a rich building means a large part of Egyptian history has ended,” the director of the institute, Mohammed al-Sharbouni, told state television over the weekend. The building was managed by a local non-governmental organization.
Al-Sharbouni said most of the contents were destroyed in the fire that raged for more than 12 hours on Saturday. Firefighters flooded the building with water, adding to the damage.
During the clashes a day earlier, parts of the parliament and a transportation authority office caught fire, but those blazes were put out quickly.
The violence erupted in Cairo Friday, when military forces guarding the Cabinet building, near the institute, cracked down on a 3-week-old sit-in to demand the country’s ruling generals hand power to a civilian authority.
Read more: Hindustan Times