The Great Fire of London was caused by a simple oven fire in a bakery on Pudding Lane, which started in the early hours of 2 September 1666. The fire spread across the whole town, which at the time was tightly packed with wooden houses, and left more than 70,000 residents without homes. It also burned to ashes dozens of historic buildings, including the old St. Paul's Cathedral.
The devastating tragedy paved the way for the large-scale reconstruction, the creation of the first insurance companies and fire brigades in the country.
To commemorate the Great Fire of London, artistic collaborative Artichoke together with artist David Best constructed a 120-feet (37-metre) long wooden replica of the town only to ruthlessly set it alight. The artists carefully recreated London's 17th century skyline, and present day Londoners could observe it at the festival that was held from 30 August to 4 September.
At 8.30 pm on Sunday thousands of London residents and tourists gathered on the banks of the Thames river between Blackfriars and Waterloo bridges to watch the flames ruin the medieval city once again as it floated on a barge and reflected beautifully in the water.
"The festival is an artistic response that addresses the impact of the Great Fire of London on the city, its inhabitants and buildings, and how it emerged from the ashes and evolved to the resilient world city it is today," said Helen Marriage, the director of Artichoke.
Fireboats sailed close to the floating platform through the whole spectacle to ‘mist' the flames and make the fire burn brighter as it was also projected onto the real St. Paul's Cathedral. When the replica had completely burned to the ground, the fire was extinguished.
The beautiful and thrilling show was livestreamed on YouTube so that those living in foreign countries could also watch.
Social media immediately exploded with enthusiastic comments and breathtaking images of the flames cankering the artificial city against the dark skies of today's London.