The Austrian Hospice of the Holy Family, Jerusalem
The Austrian Hospice serves as a boutique hotel and pilgrim house in Jerusalem’s Old City. The view from the roof is perhaps the best panorama from within the Old City.
In 1847 Pope Pius IX decided to re-establish the patriarchal seat in Jerusalem which had been abandoned since the late fourteenth century. Officially the seat was under exclusive control of the French Protectorate, but the Austrian monarchy sought to establish a visible presence of its own in Jerusalem. The Chapel, hospice and pilgrim house was completed in 1858.
In 1869 Emperor Franz Joseph of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, whose title encompassed that of King of Jerusalem, visited Jerusalem’s holy sites and made an impressive entrance in the Holy Land on behalf of the Habsburg monarchy and resided in the Hospice. Since the Crusades, Franz Joseph was the first crowned head of a Catholic country to come to Jerusalem .
In 1918 the British military requisitioned the Hospice and turned into an Anglican orphanage run by the “Syria and Palestine Relief Fund” until 1923.
On 3 September 1939, the Hospice was seized by the British authorities and served as an internment camp for all priests and monks. In October 1948, the Hospice was taken over by the Jordanian government which continued running it as a hospital. THe hospital continued to function until December 1985 when it was returned to Austrian hands and was restored as a hospice.
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Panorama from the roof of the Austrian Hospice
The Hospice management allows tourists to climb up the stairs to the roof to view a wide panorama of the Old City’s places of worship of Jewish, Christian and Moslem faiths.
Via Dolorosa 37
Tel: 00972 / 2 / 626 58 00