Sursock Palace, Beirut, Libanon,
The recently restored 19th-century palace was one of the treasured tourist attractions destroyed in last week’s massive chemical explosion.
The Irish-born owner of Beirut’s landmark Sursock Palace and his American wife had finished a 20-year restoration of the landmark building from damage suffered in the country’s 1975-1990 civil war when 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded like an atom bomb last Tuesday.
“In a split second, everything was destroyed again,” said Roderick Sursock, owner of the palace that is treasured as one of the most storied buildings in the Lebanese capital.
The palace, built in 1860, lost the ceilings of the top floor along with many of the walls in the blast that officials now say killed at least 200.
Roderick Sursock told the Associated Press that the damage is at least 10 times what 15 years of civil war inflicted on the palace, which also survived both world wars and the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
The palace will only survive with yet another restoration “as if rebuilding the house from scratch,” Sursock said.
But he will not even contemplate starting until a total change in leadership in what he angrily called a nation “run by a gang of corrupt people.”