The building is one of the most storied buildings in Beirut, and “in a split second, everything was destroyed again”, says Roderick Sursock, owner of Sursock Palace.
The 160-year-old palace withstood two world wars, the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the French mandate, and Lebanese independence.
The family took 20 years of careful restoration to bring Sursock Palace back to its former glory following Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war.
He steps carefully over the collapsed ceilings, walking through rooms covered in dust, broken marble and crooked portraits of his ancestors hanging on the cracked walls.
The ceilings of the top floor are all gone, and some of the walls have collapsed.
The level of destruction from the massive explosion at Beirut's port last week is 10 times worse than what 15 years of civil war did, he says.
More than 160 people were killed in the blast, around 6,000 were injured and thousands of residential buildings and offices were damaged.