As part of the famous international journeys which make up Twain's groundbreaking 1869 travelogue The Innocents Abroad, the author spent several days in Jerusalem, becoming the 19th century's most well-known Holy Land tourist in the process. Yet for years, the location of the "Mediterranean Hotel" at which Twain stayed during his time in the city has remained a mystery. Until now.
Haaretz.com reported yesterday that researcher Yoni Shapira, archaeologist Prof. Shimon Gibson and Rupert Chapman, secretary of Britain's Palestine Exploration Fund, have successfully identified the present-day Jerusalem hotel now known as the Wittenberg House, as the very same building that was originally named the Mediterranean Hotel when it was built in 1866, just one year before Mr. Clemens checked in.
Back then, the hotel was a hot spot for noted American and European luminaries looking to spend some time in Jerusalem. Apparently, the name change occurred some 120 years ago, when one Moshe Wittenberg purchased the hotel from its original owner. At least one of the letters Twain compiled in putting together The Innocents Abroad was written during his stay there. You can bet the place is about to get a whole new influx of American tourists.
For more on the discovery, go here.