Austrian St George Hospital (Istanbul)

Austrian St George Hospital, more commonly known as Avusturya Sen Jorj Hastanesi or Avusturya Hastanesi is a private non-profit hospital with a history going back to the early 1800s in the center of Istanbul, Turkey. Located below the famous Galata Tower and next to the St. George Austrian High School. The hospital now serves patients from 56 different countries in over 10 different languages.

Although the first foundation of the hospital is considered to be made in 1872 after 2 nuns from the Austrian city of Graz came to Istanbul to aid in the cholera outbreak. This only tells one side of its history which is the more well known roots of the hospital today. We have found that the name and mission of the hospital goes further back in history with many of its service and types of care dispersed in both time and location. In 1830 the first Austrian hospital in Turkey was opened following an agreement of medical cooperation between the two governments. The hospital served as a medical center for the naval forces; this hospital was then moved to the Sen Jorj monastery before being moved again, close to its location today, to Taksim in 1911 to be made one of the most technologically advanced medical institution serving the area and was primarily funded by the government until 1918. During this time the hospital had expanded to include more essential services such as internal medicine, surgery, ENT (ear, nose, throat), and some others. Before long however the hospital was seized by the French during the occupation of Istanbul (1918) in WWI; however the continuation of its services was allowed without interruption. 1991 brought about the last location change for this hospital to its current location to continue serving under the name it was first envisioned as, St George, with this final building receiving expansions to house more patients and clinics in 1995 and 2000. This tells the history of the hospital as an institution.

However perhaps one of the most important ranges of history for the hospital is best told from the staff and volunteers’ point of view, who arrived later but were monumental in the history of the hospital. This includes the well known story of 2 nuns from the Austrian city of Graz from the “Die Barmherzigen Schwestern vom hl. Vinzenz von Paul in Österreich” organization founded by a fellow women from Graz named Leopoldine Josefa Maria Brandis, coming to Istanbul to aid with the cholera outbreak following the help call of the Ottoman Emperor Abdulaziz in what can best be described as the roots of the cooperation between the many catholic organizations and the hospital, including the foundation that runs the hospital today by the name “Fille de la Charite” founded by Saint Vincent de Paul and Saint Louise de Marillac.
1902 is when an Italian physician by the name of Dr. Giovanni Battista Violi who practiced pediatrics who was also the founder of the first vaccine institution in Turkey called “Etablissement Vaccinogène” in 1881 turned a section of the hospital into Turkey's first child sanatorium the “l’Hôpital Saint­Georges pour les Enfants Maladesl” located in Burgazada, and also published a monthly medical paper called “La Pédiatrie en Turquie” in both French and Turkish and the paper included renowned pediatricians like Ausset, Baginsky, Bokay, Escherich, Fischl, Hutinel, Monti, and others. This location was chosen because of the belief that fresh air, seaside and sunlight along with activities in these conditions were important to a patient’s recovery. During this time foreign doctors like Dr. Antipas, Dr. Limarakis, Dr. Christidis who worked here also resided next to this new sanatorium and transportation of patients was funded by the state. This location in Burgazada still has some of the old buildings owned by the doctors and the sanatorium itself that was a part of St. George Hospital. These structures are now owned by the same foundation that currently runs the St. George Hospital.

The hospital continues to serve in Beyoğlu, Istanbul with a total of 13 disciplines, 4 adult, 4 pediatric ICU beds, a total of 48 beds, and 3 ORs.


The 2000s saw the modernization of the hospital's operating rooms and other services to facilitate more minimally invasive surgeries and other operations, the hospital now also includes a smaller intervention room and ozone therapy room. The hospital has 24 doctors from 17 different specialties or services with 48 beds that include 4 adult and 4 pediatric intensive care unit beds.

The current array of specialties includes but is not limited to General Surgery, OB/GYN, Ophthalmology, Ear Nose Throat, Cardiology, Anesthesia, Internal Medicine, Neurology, Dermatology, Urology, Dentistry, Orthopedics and Traumatology, Pediatrics, Radiology and more.

The hospital's administrative board consists of the Chief Physician, Hospital Manager and 3 Schwesters including the head of the board which are appointed by the Graz based organization “Die Barmherzigen Schwestern vom hl. Vinzenz von Paul in Österreich”.

Austrian St George Hospital's international background along with its central location close to many historic and touristic places like the Galata Tower and Taksim Square in Istanbul makes it a frequent destination for any tourist who is having a medical problem during their visit and the non-profit principle makes it one of the best options for immigrants who are residing in Istanbul.

  • Photos, text and research by Yigit Kurtdere, Ilayda Soyumez, Buse Polat.
  • Historic photos provided by hospital administration under creative usage terms.

Related Topics

1. Doc. Dr. Hasan Işık, and Prof. Dr. Musa Şamil Yüksel. Türk Tarihinde Salgınlar Ve Afetler. Astana Yayınları, 2021.
2. Samsinger, Elmar, and Rudolf Agstner, eds. Österreich in Istanbul. Lit, 2010.
3. Köse, Hülya. “ MEŞRUTİYET’TEN CUMHURİYET’E TÜRKİYE’DE VEREMLE MÜCADELE.” Thesis, Atatürk Üniversitesi, 2020.
4. Dinç, G. , Etker, Ş. "Türkiye Çocuk Hekimliğinin İlk Dergisi: La Pédiatrıe En Turquie / Türkiye'de Emraz-ı Etfal". Osmanlı Bilimi Araştırmaları 5 (2004 ): 61-101
5. Ülman, Yeşim Işıl. “Tıbbiye’De Bir Avusturyalı: Dr. Lorenz Mathuss Karl Rigler.” ResearchGate, 2006.'de_bir_Avusturyali_Dr_Lorenz_Mathuss_Karl_Rigler_1815-1862/links/54ac3e380cf2479c2ee79788/Tibbiyede-bir-Avusturyali-Dr-Lorenz-Mathuss-Karl-Rigler-1815-1862.pdf.
6. Sari, Prof. Nil. “Turkey and Its International Relations in the History of Medicine.” Vesalius 7 (December 2001): 86–93.
7. Dr. Giovanni Battista Violi, "La Pédiatrie en Turquie - Türkiye'de Emraz-ı Etfal,". Issue (1909-1911).
8. Yıldırım, Prof. Dr. Nuran. Salgın Afetlerinde İstanbul. Istanbul: İstanbul Kültür AŞ, 2010.

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