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Fire at 16th-Century Mexican Church Prompts Preservation Debate

A fire of unknown origin broke out during a service at the Apostle Santiago Church in Nurio, a small town in the Mexican state of Michoacán. Parishioners rushed to salvage what they could as the blaze consumed the building’s stunning painted ceilings, murals and elaborately decorated central altar.

Authorities and locals are debating how best to rebuild the cathedral. Per El País, the building had been in derelict condition for years. Though Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and the Michoacán state culture department were scheduled to begin conservation work in January, the project never began, most likely due to internal disputes about a lack of resources.

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