Bad Godesberg The small Oriental palace reveals little of its inner splendor to the outside. It was by far the most exotic embassy built near the Rhine when Bonn was the capital of Germany.
In 1990, Syria set up its embassy with elaborate interior design at the edge of the Rhine on Andreas-Hermes-Strasse, diagonal from the Caesar research center. Wieland Münch is head of the real estate firm R. Dieter Limbach and says he first stepped foot inside the building in 2003. "Again and again I tried to get the order (to sell the property). Only last summer, the contacts to Syria's embassy in Berlin intensified. In May, Ambassador Bashar Alassaed personally gave a green light. "
The property is to be sold in a bidding process within the next two months, with a minimum bid of at least 2.5 million euros. “An amount that is in the range of market value,” according to Münch. Despite the long time the building has sat vacant, he says there is “no major damage.” The former embassy building has about 3,700 square meters and sits on a lot of around 4,000 square meters.
40 Syrian artists worked on the building
In addition to the administrative and reception rooms, there is an underground car park and a wellness area that was reserved for the ambassador, along with his private rooms. His Excellency Suleyman Haddad created the building after having served as ambassador for nine years, living in Bonn.
For diplomats from the Orient, the building was “a bow to the history and culture of his country,” as he publicly acknowledged at the time. Old Damascus was reflected in light-flooded inner courtyards, artistically designed marble floors and ceiling inlays. 40 Syrian artists came to Bonn in 1989/1990, handcrafting every detail. After eleven months of construction, the new embassy was opened in the spring of 1990. The old embassy had been located at Kurpark 2 in Bad Godesberg.
In the 1980’s, the city of Bonn had developed plans to accommodate federal institutions on the site opposite the Rhineaue. The new Bonn embassy and diplomatic quarter was to be built in that area. The Syrian embassy was constructed at a cost of around 14 million marks at the time.
Possible office space
Bonn economic development director Victoria Applebe welcomed the news on Tuesday, saying that a building which had been unused for many years could now be of use again in such a prime location. There had been several requests from companies and institutions who were looking for real estate in the area and this object might be of interest.
The development plan provides for administrative and office space but could also be used for medical purposes. “Theoretically, it could also be demolished,” said Münch. Perhaps it would be purchased by a project developer who would rebuild on that plot of land. But in the end, Münch says it will be likely be bought by professionals.
(Orig. text: Michael Wenzel / Translation: ck)