France has announced to donate €500,000 towards the reconstruction of a Lebanese museum after it was destroyed in the Beirut blast.
The blast, which occurred in the capital of Lebanon on August 4 last year, left huge devastation in its wake. At least 215 were dead, along with more than 7,500 injured. The infrastructure in Beirut was significantly damaged, with many historical buildings and places of note were damaged or destroyed. This included the Sursock Palace and Museum, which was located just a mile from the blast site. Many of the historic stained-glass windows were shattered, ceilings collapsed and paintings were damaged with their frames. The entire first floor of the building met with grave damage.
The Sursock Palace was the home of the famous art collector Nicolas Sursock, who came from one of the oldest aristocratic families of Beirut. After his death, the palace was converted into a museum in the 1960s along with the huge art collection of Sursock. The collection included works by various Lebanese artists from the 1800s to the early 2000s. It also displayed many works showcasing the Islamic and Ottoman art styles. The museum survived the deadly civil war that ravaged Lebanon in 1975-1990. After closing for refurbishments, which lasted almost a decade, the museum had re-opened to the public only in 2015.
The announcement of the aide came from the French ambassador to Lebanon, Anne Grillo. She also said that “supporting heritage and culture is not a luxury.” The Sursock Museum later thanked the ambassador and the French government for the aide.