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Mon 3 Sep 2018 09:54 AM

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In pictures: Massive fire engulfs 200-year-old Brazil National Museum

A massive fire on Sunday ripped through Rio de Janeiro's treasured National Museum, one of Brazil's oldest, in what the nation's president said was a "tragic" loss of knowledge and heritage. The museum was founded in 1818 by King Joao VI and is among Brazil's most important, with valuable national treasures inside.

In pictures: Massive fire engulfs 200-year-old Brazil National Museum
Firefighters work as a massive fire engulfs the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro, one of Brazil's oldest, on September 2, 2018.
In pictures: Massive fire engulfs 200-year-old Brazil National Museum
The natural history and anthropology museum was founded in 1818 by King Joao VI and is considered a jewel of Brazilian culture, housing more than 20 million valuable pieces.
In pictures: Massive fire engulfs 200-year-old Brazil National Museum
Five hours later they had managed to smother much of the inferno that had torn through hundreds of rooms, but were still working to extinguish it completely.
In pictures: Massive fire engulfs 200-year-old Brazil National Museum
The collection included art and artifacts from Greco-Roman times and Egypt, as well as the oldest human fossil found within today's Brazilian borders, known as "Luzia."
In pictures: Massive fire engulfs 200-year-old Brazil National Museum
The museum also housed the skeleton of a dinosaur found in the Minas Gerais region along with the largest meteorite discovered in Brazil, which was named "Bendego" and weighed 5.3 tons.
In pictures: Massive fire engulfs 200-year-old Brazil National Museum
People watch as a massive fire engulfs the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro, one of Brazil's oldest, on September 2, 2018. - The cause of the fire was not yet known, according to local media. (Photo by STR / AFP) (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
In pictures: Massive fire engulfs 200-year-old Brazil National Museum
The National Museum, which is linked to the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, has suffered from funding cuts.
In pictures: Massive fire engulfs 200-year-old Brazil National Museum
As flames raged researchers, professors and university students expressed a mix of sorrow and indignation, with some calling for demonstrations Monday in front of the ravaged building.