The Italian Hospital in Jerusalem

Touring the Holy Land

The Italian Hospital in Jerusalem is a building reminiscent in its plan and appearance of Italian buildings from the Middle Ages, a monument to a period of prosperity and the return of the city from a marginal city to the center of international interest.


The Italian Hospital in Jerusalem
You can find this fantastic complex at 29 Shbati Israel St., corner of 9 Haneviim St. in Moserara in Jerusalem. The building served as an Italian-sponsored hospital between the two world wars and is currently used by the Ministry of Education.

More About the Italian Hospital in Jerusalem

Our story of the Italian Hospital in Jerusalem begins at the end of the 19th century, with the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and its opening to the influences of European powers: France, Germany, Great Britain, and Russia fought for influence and prestige in the city of Jerusalem. Until then, the city was a neglected and marginal city at the edge of the Ottoman Empire, with a poor and disorganized population and a backward feudal economy.


In This Photo: The Italian Hospital in December
(Credit: Shmuel Dekel CC CC BY-SA 4.0)

The choice of Jerusalem as the arena of conflict between the powers was due to Christian religious belief combined with missionary activity and living memory of the days of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. The Street of the Prophets, one of the first streets in western Jerusalem that served as the main traffic route west from the Damascus Gate, was the center of the action, and along it (and the streets branching off from it), a large part of the construction activity of the European powers was concentrated.

The Italian government, similar to other powers and separately from the activities of the Holy See, sought to demonstrate its presence in Jerusalem by establishing an impressive hospital designed to provide its services to the local population and especially to the Catholic pilgrims who visited the city. The initiative, which came relatively late to the actions of the other powers, was started by an Italian Christian organization called “Associazione Nazionale per Soccorrere I Missioneri Italiani – ANSMI,” which purchased a plot of land that was owned by an Arab.

The Italian Hospital in Jerusalem: Planning & Construction

The cornerstone for the building was laid in 1910, and in 1912 the architect brothers Giulio and Antonio Barluzzi arrived in Jerusalem to engage in the design work of the building and unwittingly opened a new era in Jerusalem buildings. Antonio Barluzzi remained in Israel and served as an essential factor in the planning and construction of churches and monasteries throughout the country, particularly in Jerusalem.

In the twenties and thirties of the 20th century, he built and renovated churches in Jerusalem, established a hospice and a Franciscan church dedicated to the Good Shepherd in Jericho, and between 1937-1938 Barlozzi founded the church on Mount of Beatitudes. In later years – 1954-1955 – he built the Church of Dominus Flevit (Church Where Our Lord Wept) on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

Sources of Inspiration & Influence

The hospital building was designed in the style characteristic of Italian public buildings in Italy of the late Middle Ages, also known as the Italian Gothic style, characterized by elements such as pointed arches, pointed gables, towers, and especially stone decorations made in the form of lace and the many decorations and sculptural details that enveloped them.


In This Photo: City Hall in Siena, One of the Sources of Inspiration to the Italian Hospital
(Credit: NielsB CC BY-SA 3.0)

In this context, the sources of inspiration for the hospital’s design can be seen in the Gothic Revival movement that tried to recreate the Gothic architecture of the Middle Ages in Europe with more modern means and contexts. The romantic movement of the 19th century, which admired this architecture as the splendor of romantic creation, significantly influenced the renewed flowering of Gothic art.

In general, the hospital building is reminiscent of famous Italian buildings such as the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence’s Signoria square, and Santa Maria del Fiore, which is the Duomo (cathedral) of Florence, alongside buildings in the city of Siena, As Torre del Mangia and the adjacent Palazzo Pubblico.

This fact made the building unusual not only in its surrounding landscape but also in the landscape of Jerusalem and the Land of Israel. It was a conscious decision to adopt an unmistakable style whose identity is unquestionably Italian to make a political-political statement using architectural means.

apt-stamp-white@2x
arik-about

Hi! My name is Arik Haglili, an Israeli native who decided to dedicate his life to share my knowledge about the Holy Land to those that are interested to know more about this amazing piece of land. My career as a private tour guide started at the International School For the Studying of the Holocaust and the rest is history. 

Did you know the Hoopoe is Israel's national bird?! For more cool info about Israel, join our ever growing community and get exclusive travel tips, and giveaways!

Bible Lands Museum

RELATED POSTS

Gethsemane

Gethsemane is a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. According to the Gospels, Jesus underwent the Agony in the garden.

Sarona Colony

Another great reason to come and check out Sarona Market is the Sarona Colony which is now a trendy commercial area called Sarona Tel Aviv. ...

Susita National Park (Hippos)

Perched on top of a hill, overlooking the Sea of Galilee, there you have Susita National Park! The site protects the important archaeological site known ...

Best Parks in the Arava Valley

What are the best parks in the Arava Valley? So this post will supply the best information about the must-do trails in the Arava.

Luzit Caves

Luzit Caves are a series of bell caves, perched on a flat hill 210 meters above sea level, about a kilometer southeast of Luzit in ...

Tel Arad National Park

Tel Arad National Park is one of the must-see Archeological Tells in Israel. On my private tours of Tel Arad I make it a real experience.

Bethlehem

The city of Bethlehem is probably one of the most renowned cities in the Judeo-Christian world. Mainly for the Birthplace of Jesus and David.

Church of Saint Anne

The Church of Saint Anne in Jerusalem marks, according to Christian tradition, is the birthplace of Mary the Mother of Jesus.

Tel Beer Sheva National Park

Tel Beer Sheva National Park is classical biblical tel that showcases what is a biblical town in the time of Abraham and the Iron Age.

Bethphage

Bethphage is located in Mt. Olives and the place from which Jesus sent his disciples to find a colt upon which he would ride into Jerusalem.

Need help?

Skip to content