Istanbul's historic Vanikoy Mosque damaged in blaze

Fire at wooden 17th-century mosque extinguished with help from the coastguard

A fire engulfs Vanikoy Mosque, a historic wooden mosque, in Istanbul, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020. The Vanikoy Mosque, built in the 17th century during the reign of Ottoman Sultan IV Mehmed, is located on the Asian side of Istanbul along the Bosporus Strait. Turkish firefighters were trying to put out the blaze from both land and sea. (DHA via AP)
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A historic wooden mosque in Istanbul was damaged by fire on Sunday.

The Vanikoy Mosque, built in the 17th century during the reign of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed IV, is located on the Asian side of Istanbul along the Bosporus Strait.

Videos taken from the river and shared on social media showed bright orange flames and heavy smoke pouring from the structure.

Images taken in the aftermath showed blackened walls and debris in the street as firefighters sprayed water to cool the building.

Istanbul’s fire department tweeted that the fire had been extinguished and cooling efforts were ongoing. The extent of the damage and cause of the blaze has not yet been determined. The city’s governor said an investigation had been launched.

The firefighters prevented the fire from reaching a forest behind the mosque and the neighbouring houses that line the Bosporus. They were aided by the coastguard.

The mosque is a wooden structure with a single minaret.

Some observers drew comparisons to the destruction a fire wrought on Notre Dame cathedral in April 2019. The reconstruction of the cathedral is due to be completed in 2024.