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  • Hansen Hospital, Jerusalem

    Hansen Hospital
    Situated in what today is one of Jerusalem’s most affluent neighborhoods is an architectural treasure: the hansen hospital which appears on the list of buildings intended for preservation under the auspices of the society for preservation of Israel heritage sites (t.b.a [city building plan] 2097). Established in 1887 by the city’s protestant community as the Jesus Hilfe Asyl (jesus help asylum), it was designed by conrad schick, a german missionary and self-taught architect. The spacious two-story building was set in a large, walled compound containing four water cisterns, a vegetable garden, fruit trees and livestock, and was designed to be self-sufficient. Each floor had access to its own toilet via a bridge. Built to accommodate 60 patients with leprosy, the asylum was soon known as “the leper's home.” it was thought of as a closed institution, but in fact patients were free to leave, and family members could come and visit. The herrenhut brotherhood of the moravian church ran the facility between 1887 and 1950. Staff came from europe to care for the patients, who were mostly moslems, although there were some christians and a few jews.  Since an effective cure did not exist, care of the patients was based on the accepted principles of hygiene, fresh air, proper nourishment, physical activity and spiritual support. In 1948, following the establishment of the state of Israel and the division of Jerusalem between Jordan and israel, the asylum found itself on the israeli side of the city. some of the patients and staff left, moving to an asylum in the village of silwan, East of Jerusalem.   In 1950, the moravian church sold the entire compound to the jewish national fund, following which the israel ministry of health took over the running of the asylum and renamed it the hansen government hospital. With the development of an effective cure for leprosy, patients were gradually rehabilitated and discharged. the last in-patients left the hospital in 2000. In april 2009 an historical and art exhibition named ''behind the wall'' was opened within the hospital. It combines past and present and enables the visitor to experience the unique human and cultural story as well as gain an impression of its beautiful structure. Renovation and preservation by Architect Ran Wolf.