HISTORY FROM ST. JOHN TO THE MOUNT ZION
In 1882, members of the Order of St. John, a British charitable order dating back to the time of the Crusades, arrived in the Holy Land and decided that what was needed was an eye hospital.
They purchased land outside the Old City walls opposite Mount Zion and overlooking the Hinnom Valley and built the hospital which served Moslems, Jews and Christian from the entire Middle East.
There were few interruptions until 1948 but during the First World War, the Turks took over the building, turned it into an arms warehouse and destroyed parts of it.
That and the earthquake of the 1920’s made repairs necessary.
During the War of Independence the contact with Israeli’s blockaded in the Jewish Quarter was by means of a cable car, built from a point on Mount Zion to a room
in the building of the hotel. It was used at night time for transferring medicine and arms to Mount Zion and the wounded to the hotel building.
During the day the cable was lowered to the ground so as not to be seen
Today, a small museum, maintained by the Jerusalem Municipality, can be found on the premises where one can see the cable car, the mechanism, photographs and souvenirs of the period.