Soul of the city: Beirut′s cultural decline | Reporter - On Location | DW | 05.12.2020
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Soul of the city: Beirut's cultural decline

The explosion in Beirut was a shock for Mary Cochrane, a member of one of Lebanon’s most prominent aristocratic families. Sursock Palace, where the family lives, was severely damaged in the blast, but there‘s no money to save it.

Watch video 12:38

Beirut's reputation as the "Paris of the Middle East" was built on the city's many historic structures. These architectural gems elegantly combined both European and Middle-Eastern influences. After the explosion in early August, thousands of these buildings now lie in ruin. Most of them are privately owned, but their owners currently lack the means to secure them. Beirut's cultural scene is sounding the alarm: the destruction of these buildings threatens the soul of the city. But there is no money to rescue them. Donations are currently their only hope. Mary Cochrane is struggling to reconstruct the family home, or at least make it winter-proof. After all, Sursock Palace is one of the most famous landmarks in Beirut's Christian quarter, Ashrafieh. A report by Theresa Breuer and Vanessa Schlesier.