Beit Ticho The Historical Gem of Jerusalem
BY Dan Magazine DATE 16/11/2016
Beit Ticho is a mix of a historic museum, art gallery, great garden, restaurant, and music concert venue.
In Jerusalem of old, there was hardly a person who did not know Dr. Ticho, the famous ophthalmologist. The house that the doctor and his wife Anna, the artist, lived and worked in became a museum after his death. It was recently renovated and a visit is guaranteed to be an interesting experience that reveals an important and fascinating chapter in the history of Jerusalem.
Did we say history? Let’s go back to Jerusalem of 1912 which is when Abraham Albert Ticho, who studied medicine in Vienna, arrived. He was an eye specialist and was invited that summer by the organization “Lema’an Zion” to come and work here. His fiancée Anna arrived a few months later.
Dr. Ticho was known for his fight against a terrible eye disease, trachoma, which was rampant among both Jews and Arabs at that time. After working for a short period of time under “Lema’an Zion”, he turned to private practice and moved his clinic to the home he was renting, next to Ha’Neviim Street.
Another important chapter is recorded in the medical history of the home: In 1917 Dr. Ticho was conscripted to the Medical Legion of the Austrian army for two years. With his consent, the home was turned into the first Jewish Children’s Hospital in the land.
The couple bought the home in 1924, they renovated it and split the building into their living quarters on the top floor and a clinic on the ground floor. Dr. Ticho was very well known and respected. His reputation was so renowned that Egyptian military doctors captured in the Sinai battle requested to visit his clinic before their release.
A Lively Household
The house was always teeming with guests. There were doctors and scientists together with artists and writers, Zionist leaders and politicians from all streams. The home was also a meeting place for German migrants to Jerusalem, and professors, writers and philosophers like Martin Buber, Shai Agnon, Henrietta Szold and others would often gather there. The group would sit in the garden, on the wide porch or in one of the living rooms, and would sometimes meet with overseas guests.
One of the regular guests was the writer Shai Agnon, who spoke at the home at Dr. Ticho’s sixtieth birthday. In his great humor he explained that Dr. Ticho dedicated himself to eye treatment to allow for blind people to see his wife’s art.
People and Views
Anna Ticho became her husband’s assistant when he was performing eye operations, and when she was free she would go up to her studio and work there.
She painted the views of Jerusalem and surrounding areas, human portraits, and – at a later stage – also flowers. The most identifiable creative works of Anna are the complex impressions of olive trees and detailed rocky slopes done in ink, charcoal or pencil.
Her portraits of people she come across in the streets when she would wonder throughout the alleyways of Jerusalem or other cities, or of those people who came the clinic. Anna would often give food to the people she would meet, speak to them, and after hearing their life stories, she would ask them to model for her drawings.
Beit Ticho is managed by the Israel Museum, and last year it underwent extensive renovations that revealed extensive drawings on the ceiling that the couple were not aware of.
A visit to the historic home, centrally located in Jerusalem, is an experience saturated with the atmosphere of a Jerusalem of yore: the work room of Dr. Ticho, his collection of Hannuka candelabra (one of the largest collections in the world), the original furniture in the various rooms, the library, the art gallery with Anna’s special art and the temporary exhibitions of leading artists.
The best way to end the tour is with a light meal in the inviting garden restaurant of Beit Ticho which hosts music evenings and cultural events during the week.
Beit Ticho – 10 Ha’Rav Agan St. (near Zion Square) Tel: 02-6453746.
Photograghy: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem,
by Elie Posner & Adi Shalmon
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Written by Dan Magazine