Architect: unknown, the 1860’s
A visit at the only estate in Jerusalem that has remained unchanged since the 19th century and now houses the Museum of Natural History. Originally, Villa Decan was a luxurious family estate built by a wealthy Armenian merchant named Lazarus Paul Margharian, whose main structure functions as a passive solar building ideally suited to the Jerusalem climate. The house is surrounded by a large garden – which is currently the botanical garden of the Museum of Natural History. For a number of years, the house was the official residence of various Ottoman and British governors of Jerusalem, explaining why it is replete with relics suggestive of its previous grandeur.
The tours, led by Valentina Nelin who is a sustainable building consultant, will highlight the special ecological qualities of the historical building and compound. She will also touch on issues relating to their restoration and the history of the estate.