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The Spiritual Gardens at The Scots Hotel

Towards the end of the 19th century, when the Ottoman Turks ruled the Middle East, the Church of Scotland sent a mission to the Holy Land under the leadership of a young doctor.

Explicitly, the goal was to improve health and sanitary conditions in the Galilee area. Implicitly, its mission was to bring Christianity to the local population.

In 1894, when it became apparent that the goal was unattainable, the young doctor converted his mission into a maternity hospital, open to all creeds.

It remained in operation, with the gratitude of the population, until the early1950’s when the nascent Israeli government introduced socialized medicine.

Following the closure of the hospital in 1953, and in a desire to find an alternative use for its property, the Church of Scotland, converted its buildings into a guesthouse for international pilgrims and visitors.

Delonix regia CaesalpiniaceaeIn 1999, the buildings’ further renovation and refurbishment resulted in the creation of a first class hotel, where the architecture maintains the spirit of the original structures. Respectful of the goals that brought the Church of Scotland to the Galilee in the first place, superb landscape architecture and garden design help make The Scots Hotel an elegant, spiritual, destination.

Jacarandum mimosifolia BignoniaceaeOn my travels through the Middle East last summer, our group chose this location upon the advice of the travel agent, who promised that we would be impressed. Indeed we were. The landscaping moved us greatly.

In the heat of August, when most of Israel is the color of sand, green vegetation is seen very rarely, except in the north, and the Galilee. While few, if any, flowers are in bloom at this time of year, some floriferous trees on the hotel’s grounds, such as Delonix regia Caesalpiniaceae and Jacarandum mimosifolia Bignoniaceae, gave us the splash of color that was sorely missing on this trip.

Our tour guide had taken us through practically every square mile of Israel and the accessible West Bank. Nowhere else did we see such horticultural beauty as was offered to our tired eyes by The Scots Hotel. The grounds surrounding its property are so magnificent that the photos above should speak for themselves.

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Reader Comments (2)

What a beautiful place! It would be a joy to stay in a place with wonderful gardens and such an interesting history. I am glad that through the years it did not fall into decay and end up bulldozed to make room for a modern structure.

September 6, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdebsgarden

Wonderful post!

I visited Israel in May 1999. There were many more flowers at that time of year about the whole country, including echinops all over the hills surrounding Tiberias.

While in the Galilee region we stayed in a nice but uninspired hotel in Tiberias, and it seems we must have visited before this project was begun since we did not see it. This hotel must be a beautifully tranquil place from which to view the sea.

September 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWife, Mother, Gardener

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