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Pictures: Fire Destroys “Temple of Knowledge” in Egypt

Pharaonic faces stare out from charred pages in Cairo’s Egyptian Scientific Complex on Monday. The documents are among thousands of precious historic works damaged or destroyed by a fire that consumed the structure over the weekend.

Now in danger of collapsing, the complex, also known as the Institut d’Égypte, caught fire on Saturday during clashes between protesters and army soldiers near Tahrir Square.

“It’s a huge shock. It’s a gorgeous building and there are some really important ancient manuscripts and printed materials contained there,” said UCLA Egyptologist Willeke Wendrich.

Founded by Napoleon in 1798, the Institut d’Égypte is dedicated to the advancement of scientific research. Its complex housed nearly 200,000 documents and manuscripts, some dating back to the 1500s.

(Related video: “Egypt Antiquities Restoration Under Way”)

first a bunch of assholes loot and destroy artifacts and now this? incredibly tragic. 

more photos here: