Photo: Government Press Office
Theodor Herzl on famous balcony in Basel
Photo: Government Press Office

Herzl's balcony up for sale

Qatar's ruler said to be among potential buyers of famous Basel hotel in which founder of modern Zionism was photographed leaning over balcony

If you will it, it could be yours: Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, was photographed in 1901 leaning over the balcony of room 117 at the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois in Basel, Switzerland during the Fifth Zionist Congress.


The famous balcony picture, in which Herzl is seen gazing into the horizon over the Rhine River, inspired philosophers and artists who saw it as a moving image of the Zionist vision.


Now the Swiss hotel is up for sale, and one of its potential buyers is none other than the Qatari national real estate company, owned by Qatar's emirate.


The Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois ("Three Kings") has been active since the 19th century. Herzl stayed at the hotel during the Fifth Zionist Congress, and the room he slept in has been named after him and become a main tourist attraction.


The luxurious hotel has become one of the most famous hotels in Europe, and its guests include public figures, artists and celebrities from all over the world.


Now it appears that this Zionist piece of history is about to change hands. Swiss media reported Sunday that local businessman Thomas Straumann had announced his plan to sell the Les Trois Rois Hotel, as well as another famous luxury hotel, Bellevue.


Straumann invested more than 150 million francs in the preservation of Les Trois Rois, but has decided to focus on his other areas of interest and quit the hotel business.


Swiss newspaper Der Sonntag revealed Sunday that one of the potential buyers who expressed a special interest in the hotel was the Qatari national real estate company.


The family of Qatar's current emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, has already invested hundreds of millions of Swiss francs in acquisitions and investments in luxurious hotels in the cities of Bern and Lausanne.



פרסום ראשון: 10.03.12, 14:59
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