Two of the seven towers of the ancient Pskov Kremlin in northwest Russia were seriously damaged by a fire that broke out at midnight on Tuesday, local emergency services said on Wednesday.
The fire began in the 'Rus' restaurant in Vlasyevskaya tower, which dates back to the 15th-16th centuries, and spread to the wooden constructions of the Rybnitskaya tower, built in the 13th-14th centuries.
The restaurant was closed when the fire broke out and staff were quickly evacuated.
Eleven fire vehicles were required to extinguish the fire and firefighters had to pump water from a nearby river.
The restaurant began renting the Vlasyevskaya tower, which is 30 meters tall, ten years ago. In March, the restaurant was fined 10,000 rubles ($340) for fire safety violations.
The 20 meter high Rybnitskaya tower is partially occupied by a souvenir shop.
Governor of the Pskov Region Andrei Turchak was forced to cut short a trip to Denmark to return to Pskov.
He pledged to find out why the restaurant was not closed in March and why the sum of the fine was "less than the restaurant's daily profit."
So far, investigators have said the fire could have been caused by arson or wiring problems.
The Pskov Kremlin, a medieval citadel, occupies some three hectares on the banks of the Pskova and Velikaya River.
A fire on the same day 448 years ago destroyed exactly the same constructions.
St. PETERSBURG, April 28 (RIA Novosti)