As we continue to explore the Jerusalem of today, we continue to take pride at the buildings and infrastructure that make this iconic city so unique. Yes, the tourist sites will always be available but they only comprise a part of Jerusalem’s rich history. The buildings that surround the city enable tourists and local residents the opportunity to appreciate the city with a fresh perspective.
As always, reminiscing about the old days of Jerusalem is always an experience.
Today’s #TBT Jerusalem Feature Destination: The Jerusalem Hansen House
Today, this iconic Jerusalem building, which is nestled in an affluent neighborhood, is home to The Center for Design, Media and Technology. This center, fills the expansive campus with exhibition spaces, an animation lab, theater performance space, projection room, studios for visiting artists, an artists guest house, a café and a restaurant.
The Hansen House: History
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.
The Hansen House used to be the Hansen Hospital, was known as the “Leper House”. This building served as a shelter for Muslims, Christians and Jews of all ages suffering from Hansen’s Disease.
For many years, The Hansen House was the only facility of its kind in the Middle East and served as a model for establishing other care-giving institutions throughout the world.
In 1948, with the establishment of the State of Israel, some of the patients and staff left, moving either to the Silwan Asylum or another asylum in Ramallah. Two years later, the Moravian Church sold the “Jesus Hilfe Asyl” compound to Keren Kayemet L’Israel, which transferred ownership of the entire complex to the State of Israel.
At this point, the institution was renamed “The Hansen Hospital,” with patient care transferred to the Israeli Ministry of Health assisted by the Hadassah Hospital’s dermatology department. Throughout the later part of the 20th century as new drugs were developed, the disease was virtually eradicated, eliminating the need for such a hospital.
In January 2000, after the remaining patients were discharged the preservation of the building focused on using the space for communal purposes. As part of the The Jerusalem Development Authority efforts to create new cultural venues that are inviting and welcoming to young people in Jerusalem.