Lebanon: Sursock Museum rehabilitation project completed

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has announced the completion of the rehabilitation project of the Sursock Museum which was damaged by the Beirut port explosions in 2020.

UNESCO said in a statement the rehabilitation project, with one-million-euro funding from Italy, is part of the UN-launched initiative named “Li Beirut” (meaning “For Beirut” in Arabic) after the Beirut port explosions to support the rehabilitation of schools, historical heritage buildings, museums, and galleries.

“We are proud to bring this iconic cultural institution back to life,” said Audrey Azoulay, the director-general of UNESCO, who hailed the museum as “a gem of Lebanese architecture and cultural life and a powerful symbol of pride and resilience for the Beirut community.”

The museum head Tarek Mitri expressed hopes that the reopening of the museum on May 26 “will give yet another impetus to the cultural life in Lebanon.”

Italian ambassador to Lebanon Nicoletta Bombardiere said the Sursock Museum, the first rehabilitation project launched jointly by Italy and UNESCO in the cultural heritage field after the explosion, represents a key demonstration of their commitment to the recovery of Beirut, stressing “culture and the protection of heritage are more necessary than ever in times of crisis.”

According to the UNESCO statement, the Sursock Museum, located in the Ashrafieh district, is one of the few landmarks and witnesses to the Lebanese architecture and mansions of the 18th and 19th centuries in Venetian and Ottoman style in Beirut. ■

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