The Scots Hotel | History
The Scottish Hospice – view from Lake Galilee
The original medical centre was established in the 19th century by Dr David Watt Torrance - a young Scottish doctor, who believed in his mission to heal the people of the Holy Land.
Dr Torrance first arrived in Tiberius in 1884, as the head of the Church of Scotland mission, and motivated by the poor health and sanitary conditions, worked day and night to serve the rapidly expanding population. In January 1894 the first hospital of Tiberias was opened with the specific purpose of being available to all regardless of race or creed.
Staff of nurses and doctors
During his years of work in the hospital Dr Torrance lost two of his wives and four of his children all of whom had succumbed to the harsh living conditions and disease. Despite the tragic losses, the difficulties enforced by the Turkish authorities, the ramifications of World War 1, and a bad automobile accident - Dr Torrance continued to work caring for thousands of patients until his death in 1923.
Prior to this his son, Dr Herbert Torrance joined him in 1921 and continued to run the hospital until his retirement in 1953. The mayor of Tiberius at that time awarded Dr Torrance Jr with a gold pin as a gesture of profound gratitude from the city. Dr David Watt Torrance is buried alongside his family members on the site adjacent to the hotel swimming pool. The Hospital continued as a maternity unit until it was closed in the 1950s.
Dr. Torrance visiting the area
Following the closure The Church of Scotland wished to make use of these buildings and opened a guest house for pilgrims and visitors from across the world. In recent years several changes were made to the properties and in continuation of the hundreds of years tradition of contributing to the community, the Church of Scotland decided in 1999 to implement the spirit of Dr David Torrance by undertaking a major refurbishment of the guesthouse and opening this unique hotel. To maintain this spirit it has been imperative to conserve the original buildings and provide first class service in a place of reconciliation for all people including Jews, Christians and Muslims - a tranquil multi-cultural, multi-racial retreat, a flourishing site of faith in a very special atmosphere.