The Burning of Krásna Hôrka:

Krásna Hôrka, a thirteenth century castle in Slovakia, burned this week due to children playing with matches inside of it.  It is a great tragedy, and a rare opportunity to see the danger that fire posed to medieval fortifications.

The towering flames had now surmounted every obstruction, and rose to the evening skies one huge and burning beacon, seen far and wide through the adjacent country. Tower after tower crashed down, with blazing roof and rafter; and the combatants were driven from the court-yard. The vanquished, of whom very few remained, scattered and escaped into the neighbouring wood. The victors, assembling in large bands, gazed with wonder, not unmixed with fear, upon the flames, in which their own ranks and arms glanced dusky red. 

-Sir Walter Scott, Ivanhoe

Yet fire was not only a siege weapon but a daily tool in such castles:  the main form of heat, and the only form of light beyond the sky.

(Via, which has far more video from the story.)


douglas said...

Invariably powerful tools are also potentially dangerous. What a shame. At least it appears the historic collections housed here seem to have largely escaped damage.

DL Sly said...

I thought about you when I read this to the family over the weekend and wondered whether or not I would see it on your site.

karrde said...

How many centuries was the structure safe?

Safety is a relative thing. It was as safe the day of the fire as any in the past century. Yet that day a flame found the right combination of combustibles.

And the castle burnt.

W. C. Taqiyya said...

Don't worry, dear Leader will soon have everyone burning fires in their caves for light and heat. Ah, the good old days.

Grim said...

No, no: fires produce greenhouse gases. The mandate will be for you to remain cold.