The Italian Hospital of Jerusalem

The Italian Hospital of Jerusalem, located to the west of The Old City in Jerusalem (on the corner of HaNevi'im Street 9 and Shivtei Yisrael Street 29), has been referred to as one of the most beautiful buildings in the city.

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The hospital was constructed by the Italian Barluzzi brothers between 1910 and 1919. The younger of the two, Antonio Barluzzi (26 September 1884 – 14 December 1960) became known as the "Architect of the Holy Land" by designing many of the Catholic churches throughout the country.

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The cornerstone for the hospital and church was laid in 1910, but work was interrupted by the 1912 war between Italy and the Ottoman Turks, and later by World War I. After Britain captured Jerusalem, in the winter of 1917, the Italians were able to continue their work on the Gothic, Middle Age-style structure.

The hospital and church in the 1920's

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The hospital opened its doors in 1919 and was managed by nuns at the beginning. The hospital contained a central chapel with two wings containing 100 hospital beds. The facade of the building takes its influence from Florentine Renaissance style and strongly resembles the Palazzo Vecchio Bell Tower, the city hall in Florence, Italy.

The main entrance

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The southern division of the hospital

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The northern division of the hospital

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The church bell tower

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The aisle connecting the two divisions

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The hospital's church from the inside

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Contribution painting by Ludwig Blum (known as "The painter of Jerusalem")

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The ancient interior stairs

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The surrounding garden

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During World War I, the hospital was seized by the Turks, and later on with the outbreak of World War II, the hospital was taken over by the British Royal Air Force. In 1948, during the War of Independence, the Israel Defense Force took control of the site, whose tower made an ideal observation post. The State of Israel purchased the property in 1963 and was transformed into the Ministry of Education and Culture until this day.

The Ministry of Education's entrance sign- "The Italian Building"

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  • Photos and main text by Oreste Lanza ti.kooltuo|79etsero#| and Netali Blinks moc.liamg|sknilbaten#| (December 2015)
  • Locate the item on this Google Map

Bibliography
* ירושלים ואתריה, אלי שילר, הוצאת אריאל, ירושלים 1982, 256 עמודים (Eli Shiler, Jerusalem and its sites, Ariel Publishing, Jerusalem 1982, pp. 256)

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