A fire has gutted the Shuri Castle, causing substantial damage to the main hall of the more than 500-year-old landmark, Reuter reports.
The world-listing heritage, located in Japan, also has its dragon monuments blackened by soots.
The gazellenews gathered that firefighters were still battling the flames into the daylight hours of Thursday.
“The main hall has burned down”, says Mikiko Shiroma, mayor of Naha city where the castle is located.
“This is truly regrettable,” he adds.
The wooden castle is painted bright red and enclosed by curved stone walls. It sits on a hill overlooking Naha.
The city’s fire department said that while the castle had exterior sprinkler systems, its halls were not so equipped as this was not required under local fire codes.
Shuri Castle has been destroyed by fire several times, most recently in the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.
After World War 2, it served as a university campus until the mid 1970s. Following a reconstruction, it re-opened as a national park in 1992 and was designated a World Heritage site in 2000.