Qatari ruler eyes iconic Herzl balcony
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Qatari ruler eyes iconic Herzl balcony

Basel hotel where the founder of modern Zionism was photographed in 1901 is up for sale

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Theodor Herzl on the balcony of the Hotel Les Trois Rois in Basel, Switzerland, 1897 (photo credit: CC-PD-Mark, by Wikigamad, Wikimedia Commons)
Theodor Herzl on the balcony of the Hotel Les Trois Rois in Basel, Switzerland, 1897 (photo credit: CC-PD-Mark, by Wikigamad, Wikimedia Commons)

The Les Trois Rois hotel in Basel, Switzerland, scene of an iconic portrait of Theodor Herzl, is up for sale, and Qatar’s ruler is reportedly among the potential buyers.

Hotel Les Trois Rois in Basel, Switzerland (photo credit: CC-BY-2.0-DE, by Mattes, Wikimedia Commons)
Hotel Les Trois Rois in Basel, Switzerland (photo credit: CC-BY-2.0-DE, by Mattes, Wikimedia Commons)

Among the front-runners to buy the 19th century luxury hotel, including the balcony where Herzl had his picture taken in 1901, is Qatar’s national real estate company, headed by Emir Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, according to a report Tuesday in Yedioth Ahronoth.

The hotel’s owner, tycoon Thomas Straumann, has decided to sell the hotel in order to focus on other business interests, Yedioth reported.

Famous picture of Theodor Herzl on the balcony of the Hotel Les Trois Rois in Basel, Switzerland (photo credit: CC-PD-Mark, by Wikigamad, Wikimedia Commons)

Herzl stayed at the hotel during the fifth Zionist congress in December, 1901 and was photographed leaning on railing of the balcony of room 117, contemplating — or so it seemed — the future Jewish state.

The photograph became the Zionist visionary’s most famous portrait, and the room is now marketed as the one where, according to the hotel website, “you take in a breath of world history” in the place where “Theodor Herzl laid the foundation for the State of Israel.”

The following year, Herzl published his vision for the Jewish state in the land of Israel, in his novel “The Old New Land.” The book featured the phrase, “If you will it, it is no dream,” which became a slogan for the Zionist movement.

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