Crusader Murals Uncovered in Jerusalem Hospital After Water Pipe Bursts

Thursday, 15 May 2014 01:53 PM

By Michael Mullins

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Crusader murals were recently uncovered at a Jerusalem hospital by a group of nuns who were reorganizing a storeroom after a water pipe burst.

The paintings, which were discovered at Jerusalem's Saint-Louis Hospice, were commissioned by Comte Marie Paul Amédée de Piellat, a French count who considered himself a descendant of Crusaders, LiveScience reported. A frequent visitor to the Holy City, Piellat had the hospice constructed in honor of French King St. Louis IX, who led the Seventh Crusade between A.D. 1248 and 1254.

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The hospice itself was built between 1879 and 1896, replacing a smaller medical facility at the same site.

The original murals seen above were painted over during World War I by occupying Turkish forces. Following the war and Turkey's loss, Piellat returned to Jerusalem and had the murals partially restored, however was unable to have the project completed before he died in a hospital in 1925, LiveScience noted.

According to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), the murals were rediscovered by the Sisters of the order of St. Joseph of the Apparition, who run the facility, when they were reorganizing a storage room in the hospice after a busted water pipe washed away some of the modern paint that had covered the paintings.

According to the IAA, the nuns do not plan on turning the still-active hospice into a tourist site, considering the facility is still being used to care of chronic and terminally ill patients, LiveScience reported.

The Saint-Louis Hospice is situated in IDF square directly next to a Jerusalem municipal building that, according to LiveScience, divides Israeli-dominated West Jerusalem and heavily Palestinian East Jerusalem.

A devout Catholic, Piellat reportedly built the two-story hospital to increase the church's influence in what was formerly the city's Christian quarter at a time when other Christian denominations were vying for power over the area.

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