Dear guests and friends!
Our Austrian Pilgrim Hospice in Jerusalem is experiencing a renaissance.

In the northeastern section of our garden area we are currently building a three-storey building. From 2019 onwards „Casa Austria“ will offer you modern comforts and cosiness in the heart of the vibrant Old City of Jerusalem. At the same time, we are already working on the niceties of a comprehensive refurbishment of the traditional old building, which first opened its doors in March 1863 and in November 1869 was honoured to host our founding father, Emperor Franz Joseph.

In the footsteps of the Holy Scriptures, thousands of pilgrims and travelers from all parts of the former Monarchy, as well as from Europe and the rest of the world, took up residence here. They returned home content, replete with positive stories about this wonderful Austrian heritage in the Orient.

About that we are really happy.

For that we are sometimes sorely envied.

With that in mind we are working on a new chapter in our house history.

We also want to invite you to play a role in this piece of Austria in the Holy Land.

The plans for Casa Austria go back to the era of our founding.

Given that Jerusalem had been subject to medium-sized earthquakes throughout its eventful history, the imperial builders sent from Vienna were determined to place the foundations of the house on solid rock. They could not have guessed that this level would in fact lie 14 metres below the surface of the earth. Their sensible calculation ended up devouring almost the entire available construction budget. The intended second floor and the two side wings had to be abandoned as a result.

Until this point the Hospice had not reached the size intended at its inception. We are finally bringing the building to its belated completion

Ten more double rooms, two residential units for house management and overseas researchers, a large shelter for emergencies, an archive room for our extensive collection of documents, an active workshop and modern infrastructure: Casa Austria equips the pilgrim hospice for the tasks of the 21st century and improves the economic basis of our activities.

As soon as we are able to transfer part of our workshop from the main building, the rededication of space for rooms can begin, to the benefit of our guests from Austria, Europe and the whole world, regardless of origin.

If we are to welcome more guests in the future, we will need a new and larger dining room and a basement kitchen that conforms to regulations. The bathrooms are also in urgent need of a redesign. Added to this is the „behind the scenes“ replacement of all water pipes and the renovation of our roof, from which about 80,000 people a year enjoy a breathtaking view of the Holy City.

It is neither excessive nor self indulgent to completely modernise our pilgrim guesthouse, a full 30 years after the last comprehensive renovation (1985-1988).

We remain committed to the founding principles formulated by Cardinal Rauscher. We are not out to make a financial profit from our unique location in Jerusalem’s Old City, as a conventional tourism business would do. We are no conventional hotel. We are an ecclesiastical, Catholic pilgrim hostel seeking to bring the Holy Places, the Holy Land, the Holy Scriptures closer to our guests‘ hearts, both from a popular and a more academic perspective.

Our house enjoys an excellent reputation in the Holy Land and far beyond. We are delighted about that and will continue to work hard, so that contented friends near and far will rave about us in the future too.

On this homepage we inform you about ongoing matters. If you have any questions beyond the information provided here, please contact me at

You might ask yourself how we finance these necessary investments?

Well, if the political conditions in the region allow, we enjoy a good occupancy rate. This is a matter of pride to us and a bone of contention to the many who unfortunately cannot book accommodation with us for the period they want. We can cover a good part of these undertakings ourselves. But given the scope of our plans, we alone are not enough.

The Austrian Bishops‘ Conference supports us here as well as the public sector at federal and state level. We know that neither can be taken for granted and are therefore all the more grateful to our benefactors.

In Austria, many people are associated with the Catholic Church; this is a key reason why tax monies are also used here. Germany is following a similar path. Ultimately, this contribution goes towards improving our guests‘ wellbeing and comfort, their overall professional care.  And, of course, it preserves Austria’s heritage in the Orient for future generations.

As Austrians, we have the privilege of being able to call our refuge in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem our own. For a believer, this city of Jesus and the Bible is the navel of the world; for a secular-thinker it gave rise to an anthropological and philosophical perspective which, infused with Reformation and Enlightenment ideas, made a significant, if not decisive, contribution to the concept of humanity in the world, as well as to human dignity and human rights.

These days we are faced with profound questions relating to the successful coexistence of different cultures and religions. Daily experience in this region of the Middle East vividly highlights the problematic nature of this encounter. Europe too is now experiencing similar issues. We would do well not to forget the experiences of the local people, to do everything we can to dive into the culture and mentality of the Orient with open eyes and hearts.

At the same time, we are convinced that the potential for mutual understanding and respect is at hand in Jerusalem – if one seeks the encounter with awareness, receptivity and openness.

Given these circumstances, the Austrian Hospice in Jerusalem is committed to intercultural work, which on the one hand is intended to serve the local population and on the other our friends at home.

Social – Jobs – Peace Service – Academy

Dear friends and guests,

We offer you the opportunity to contribute to the future of the Austrian Hospice and to donate to social issues.

Enter your name in the Holy City

Your name is entered in our Donors‘ Book kept in our chapel. So from now on you and your daily concerns are in close proximity to the Holy Places.

We confirm receipt of your donation with a personal certificate of thanks as well as a special blessing from the Holy City.

We have prepared several tokens of appreciation which go some way to expressing our gratitude: a poster showing the original design of the Austrian Hospice by Anton Endlicher;  a special stamp that you can send to your friends; our Hospice Book and, for our more generous donors, the addition of your name to our Donors‘ Memorial Wall in the House Chapel.

Your donation: Our thanks:

€ 500:  special stamp „Austrian Hospice“

€ 1,000: … + poster of original design

€ 5,000:   …+ Book “At Home in the Orient”

€ 10,000: …+ Your name on our Donors‘ Memorial Wall

€ 50,000: …+ 10 day stay for 4 people in the Hospice

Building donations Social donations

Thank you very much for your help!

Markus St. Bugnyar