March 22, 2017 / 2:42 PM / 2 years ago

Fire badly damages Ottoman-era mosque in northern Greece

The 15th century Ottoman Bayezid mosque is seen damaged following a fire at the northeastern town of Didymoteicho, Greece, March 22, 2017. Alexandra Gidika/Eurokinissi via REUTERS

ATHENS (Reuters) - A fire ripped through a 600-year-old Ottoman mosque in northern Greece on Wednesday, causing extensive damage, authorities said.

The overnight blaze burned through the wooden roof of the Celebi Sultan Mehmed Mosque, also known as Bayezid Mosque, in the town of Didymoticho close to the Greek-Turkish border.

The cause was unclear, though the fire had occurred in the midst of renovation work on the building, completed in 1420. It was a cultural monument rather than a functioning mosque.

“Plumes of smoke are still coming from the building...We should have an idea tomorrow about the cause of the fire,” a fire brigade spokeswoman said.

The fire service had been called in on Tuesday because renovation workers smelled smoke, but no fire was detected when the brigade arrived, she added.

Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas; editing by Mark Heinrich

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