Drone images give intimate view of Beirut destruction

Beirut explosion destruction captured in drone footage

BEYROUTH, Lebanon - Piles of debris and broken glass on floors of marble, elegant balconies with ornate ironwork smashed on the ground: the buildings of Gemmayzeh, arguably Beirut's most picturesque neighbourhood, now lie in ruins.

They were once the homes of some of Lebanon's most storied families. But many will never be lived in again, damaged beyond repair by the huge 4 August explosion at the nearby Beirut port.

READ: Utter devastation as toll from Beirut blast tops 100 

AFP drone footage shot a few days after the disaster shows the kind of devastation usually only caused by earthquakes.

Some of the finest examples of Beirut's Levantine architecture, with its trademark triple-arched windows, have been torn down.

Behind the facades that tourists could see from the street, the rich interiors and priceless artifacts that documented countless family histories were also ravaged.

READ: France to investigate Beirut blast

Portraits of illustrious ancestors stared at by generations, now hang precariously from crumbling ruins open to the skies.

Some of the most beautiful homes in Gemmayzeh had survived 15 years of civil conflict between 1975 and 1990.

Last week, the worst peacetime disaster in Lebanon sealed their demise in a few seconds, depriving Lebanon of some of its most beloved landmarks on the eve of its centenary.