The Austrian Hospice, a stately building behind a heavy gate occupying the corner of Al-Wad Road and the Via Dolorosa in the Old City's Moslem Quarter, encapsulates the turbulent history of both Jerusalem and Europe over the past 150 years.
Founded as a center for Austrian Catholic pilgrims (it is steps away from the third and fourth Stations of the Cross) and as a display of the Austro-Hungarian Empire's grandeur in 1857, it was seized by the British during World War II and converted to a hospital by the Jordanians following the end of the British Mandate, which it remained until it was returned to Austrian control in the 1980s. It now serves as a hotel for pilgrims and tourists, and is home to the Austrian Hospice Cafe, a coffeehouse in the Viennese tradition. The cafe serves a continental menu of coffee, tea and alcohol, along with what well may be the only traditional Austrian fare in Jerusalem, including apple strudel, Wiener schnitzel and more.
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