In Beirut, the explosion also ravaged architectural gems

Beirut (AFP) - It is not only the future of Beirut that has darkened with the explosion of the port.The murderous and devastating drama has not spared what remained of the glorious past of the Lebanese capital, striking museums and historic buildings with traditional architecture.

Famous for their triple-arched windows, typical of Beirut, hundreds of architectural gems dating from the Ottoman Empire or the French Mandate (1920-1943) were already suffering the ravages of time.

After being weakened during the civil war (1975-1990), Tuesday's explosion, similar to an earthquake of 3.3 on the Richter scale, was the coup de grace.

Some of the oldest buildings are indeed near the port, where several tons of ammonium nitrates, stored according to the authorities for six in a warehouse, exploded.

In an 18th century palace, the explosion destroyed antiquities older than Lebanon, which this year marks the centenary of its creation.

In the patrician mansion decorated with marble colonnades, doors were torn off and wooden panels from the Ottoman era embellished with damaged Arabic calligraphy.Broken stained glass windows, more than 200 years old, were swept into a corner.

"It's like a rape", confides Tania Ingea, the heiress of this residence, formerly known under the name of "Palace of the Residence".

Built by one of Beirutin's great fortunes, the Sursock family, the palace survived the 2006 civil war and destructive war between Hezbollah and Israel.

With the explosion, "there is now a break between the present and the past," laments Ms.Ingea."It is an interruption in the transmission of the memory of a place, of a family, of a party.of the city's history."

Posted Date: 2020-08-29

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