BRAZIL — A massive fire engulfed Brazil’s National Museum Sunday, destroying priceless artifacts dating back centuries.
Firefighters from seven different stations are trying to battle the blaze, but Brazilian President Michel Temer has already said the losses are too great to be calculated.
The museum, which is located in Rio de Janeiro, holds at least 20 million artifacts, according to the Brazilian government news agency Agencia Brasil.
It is home to a variety of rare artifacts relating to the history of Brazil, including thousands of works from the Pre-Columbian era.
“The loss of the National Museum’s collection is insurmountable for Brazil. Two hundred years of work, research and knowledge were lost,” Temer said in a tweet Sunday. “This is a sad day for all Brazilians.”
The museum’s current director, João Carlos Nara, said the damage was “irreparable.”
The museum was once home to the Portuguese royal family, and today it’s the oldest historical institution in the country.
It was founded on June 6, 1818, by João VI of Portugal upon his arrival to Rio de Janiero as part of the Imperial Royal Family.