Lebanon 04 Dec 2020 16:46
Built on a hill overlooking the port of Beirut, Sursock Palace epitomized the expansion and the wealth of Beirut in the second half of the 19th century. In the 1920s, the marriage of Alfred Sursock with Donna Maria Teresa Serra, daughter of Francesco Serra, 7th Duke of Cassano stimulated the acquisition of valuable artworks from notable Neapolitan families. In the mid. 20th century, their daughter, Lady Yvonne Cochrane, founded the Association for the Protection of the Natural Sites and Ancient Buildings – APSAD and fought for the preservation of Beirut’s legacy. During the 1975-1990 war, Sursock Palace endured damage. In the aftermath of the conflict, the family managed to repair and maintain the estate. On the 4th of August 2020, a double explosion in the port of Beirut devastated a large part of the city of Beirut and left innumerable residents homeless, without counting the casualties. 98 years old Lady Yvonne Cochrane, who witnessed the fire while seated on her wheelchair, was injured. She passed away three weeks later. The destruction of Sursock Palace exemplifies the extent of the catastrophe on the built and the artistic heritage and the urgency to safeguard and renovate, once again.