Originally built as a hostel for French pilgrims at the end of the 19th century Notre Dame was run by the French Assumption Order. During WWI the monks were evicted and the building was seized by the Turkish authorities. Throughout the Mandate period it was used by the British and after 1948 the section overlooking the Old City walls and no man’s land separating the two parts of the city was an Israeli army position, while the remaining buildings served once more as a hostel.

The entire complex was in a bad state of repair until renovations were carried out in the 1970’s. The hostel is now a luxury hotel run by the Vatican. Pilgrims and visitors regularly attend the services held in the church. The statue of Mary holding Jesus on her shoulder can be seen from afar.

Text content copyrights: Bein Harim Ltd., Beryl Ratzer (www.ratzer.com)

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