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Last Updated: Monday, 15 March, 2004, 12:43 GMT
In pictures: Fire at historic Russian hall
The Manezh, Moscow
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A huge fire broke out in the Russian capital, Moscow, on Sunday night, gutting a landmark building - the Manezh, a 19th-century exhibition hall located near the Kremlin.
The Manezh, Moscow
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The building was empty of both people and artworks ahead of a new exhibition next week when the fire started at 2100 local time - minutes after Vladimir Putin's victory in the presidential election was declared.
The Manezh, Moscow
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Hundreds of firemen rushed to the scene to battle 20-metre high flames, as well as to douse nearby university buildings to prevent them from catching fire.
Firefighter on extandable ladder at the Manezh, Moscow
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Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov quickly ruled out both terrorism and arson as the cause of the fire, saying the most likely cause was a short-circuit in the ventilation system.
The fire seen from  behind horse sculptures of a fountain close to the Kremlin
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As the fire raged, the roof of the 4,500 square-metre structure caved in - killing two firefighters and injuring one.
Moscow skyline
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The flames and smoke rose well above the Kremlin walls, lighting up Moscow's skyline in a spectacular display until the fire was extinguished more than three hours later.
The Manezh, Moscow
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From the once majestic Manezh, originally built in 1817 as a riding school for the tsar's army, only the walls with their neo-classical colonnades survived the flames...
The Manezh, Moscow
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...while the inside of the structure was completely gutted.
Archive picture of the Manezh, Moscow
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Mayor Yuri Luzhkov has promised Muscovites to restore the historic building to its former glory.


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