According to tradition, the Garden of Gethsemane is the place where Jesus prayed and was arrested the night before his crucifixion. In that olive garden, Jesus also underwent agony in the garden.
Table of Contents
- 1 Map
- 2 Where is Gethsemane Today?
- 3 Directions and Parking
- 4 Opening Hours
- 5 Entrance Fee
- 6 What Does Gethsemane Mean?
- 7 Why is the Garden of Gethsemane Important?
- 8 Why did Jesus go to Gethsemane?
- 9 What happened in the Garden of Gethsemane?
- 10 How Old Are the Olive Trees in the Garden of Gethsemane?
- 11 Church of All Nations
- 12 Why is it called Church of All Nations?
- 13 What is inside the Church of All Nations?
- 14 Summary
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Map of the area:
And here is my photo of the Old City Map sign that I saw during one of my visits:
Note: you can click on the image to enlarge it.
Garden of Gethsemane is located to the right of the map, in square F15.
Where is Gethsemane Today?
Though the exact location cannot be determined with certainty, most churches accepted an olive grove at the foot of Mount of Olives by Kidron Valley in Jerusalem.
Directions and Parking
Finding parking in this area is a challenging task. And I usually combine a visit to Mount of Olives with at least one place in the Old City. I exit the Old City from Dung Gate and follow HaOphel Street. Then I take HaMishol HaAharon Street, and after passing Tomb of Absalom, you will see the Church of All Nations. Garden of Gethsemane is located on the premises of the Church of All Nations.
In the following photo, you can see the Church of All Nations, and the Garden of Gethsemane is located to the left. To enter the church, you have to pass through the garden. And the entry is from a side street (Al-Mansourieh Street).
For detailed directions, check my guide to the Old City Of Jerusalem.
Garden of Gethsemane is located on the premises of the Church of All Nations. Thus I will list the opening hours of the Church of All Nations.
Daily: 08:00 – 12:00 and 14:00 – 18:00 (17:00 during October – March).
What Does Gethsemane Mean?
Gethsemane comes from Hebrew Gat Shmanim, meaning oil press. And in a recent archeological study, a Mikveh from the Second Temple period was found. That supports the fact that there was an olive grove with an oil press in the times of Jesus.
Here is a short video by Israel Antiquities Authority regarding the excavations started in 2020:
Why is the Garden of Gethsemane Important?
The Garden of Gethsemane has great importance in Christianity due to the events attributed to this place. Among other things, Jesus had his last prayer there on the night he was betrayed.
Why did Jesus go to Gethsemane?
Jesus went to the garden to pray. And according to John 18:1–2, Jesus often met with his disciples at the Garden of Gethsemane. Moreover, Judas also knew this place. Thus he could find him there.
Some people suggest that a garden was chosen to symbolize the holy garden from which Adam and Eve were expelled. And Jesus suffered in the garden so that we could return to the sacred garden.
What happened in the Garden of Gethsemane?
Jesus often met with his disciples at the Garden of Gethsemane (John 18:2). But the most notable events took place on the night Jesus was arrested, the night before his crucifixion. According to the four Gospels, Jesus underwent agony in the garden, and afterward, he was arrested.
Since we mentioned the four Gospels, here are the relevant quotes.
Matthew 26:36–56 (English Standard Version)
36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”
47 While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.” 49 And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him. 50 Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. 51 And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. 52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” 55 At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. 56 But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled.
Mark 14:32–52 (English Standard Version)
32 And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. 34 And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” 35 And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” 37 And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39 And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. 41 And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”
43 And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 44 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and lead him away under guard.” 45 And when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” And he kissed him. 46 And they laid hands on him and seized him. 47 But one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. 48 And Jesus said to them, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the Scriptures be fulfilled.” 50 And they all left him and fled.
51 And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body. And they seized him, 52 but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked.
Luke 22:40–53 (English Standard Version)
40 And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45 And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, 46 and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
47 While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” 49 And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” 50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 51 But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him. 52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? 53 When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”
John 18:1–11 (English Standard Version)
18 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4 Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” 5 They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6 When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7 So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” 8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” 9 This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.” 10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) 11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”
How Old Are the Olive Trees in the Garden of Gethsemane?
The average lifespan of an olive tree is 500 years. And according to carbon dating made by Italian National Research Council in 2012, the trees at the Garden of Gethsemane are about 900 years old. But this does not mean these are not the same trees that stood here 2,000 years ago because olive trees can grow back from roots after being cut down.
Carbon dating showed that samples taken from the oldest part of the trunks of three of the eight trees came from the years 1092, 1166 and 1198, according to the study by the National Research Council of Italy Trees and Timber Institute, and academics from five Italian universities.
Church of All Nations
The modern Garden of Gethsemane is not that big, and in some of my photos above, you can see a white stone wall that is the Church of All Nations.
The Church of All Nations, also known as the Church or Basilica of the Agony, is a Roman Catholic church located on the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem, next to the Garden of Gethsemane. It enshrines a section of bedrock where Jesus is said to have prayed before his arrest. (Mark 14:32–42)
The current church rests on the foundations of two earlier ones, that of a 4th-century Byzantine basilica, destroyed by an earthquake in 746, and of a small 12th-century Crusader chapel abandoned in 1345. In 1920, during work on the foundations, a column was found two meters beneath the floor of the medieval crusader chapel. Fragments of a magnificent mosaic were also found. Following this discovery, the architect immediately removed the new foundations and began excavations of the earlier church. After the remains of the Byzantine-era church were fully excavated, plans for the new church were altered, and work continued on the current basilica from April 19, 1922, until June 1924 when it was consecrated.
Convent of the Agony – Contact Information
Terra Sancta – Getsemani P.O.B. 19094
Phone: (+972) 02-6266444
Why is it called Church of All Nations?
Church of All Nations received its name since many countries donated money for its construction. The church has twelve small domes (see photo above), and in each one, there is a coat of arms of a country that helped build this church.
What is inside the Church of All Nations?
Inside the Church of All Nations, you can see the bedrock where Jesus is believed to have prayed before his arrest.
You can see the bedrock at the bottom of the next photo.
I would suggest combining a visit to the Garden of Gethsemane with The Cenacle – Room of the Last Supper, and other places on Mount of Olives and the Old City. And for additional info about the city, see Jerusalem.
Have you ever been to the Garden of Gethsemane? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.
That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!
Additional ResourcesHere are several resources that I created to help travelers:
- Israel Trip Planner is the page that will help you to create your perfect travel route.
- National Parks And Nature Reserves page lists and put all national parks on the map. There is also a top list, information about ticket types and campsites.
- If you are looking for things to do, here are the pages for Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Sea Of Galilee, and Makhtesh Ramon.
- Wondering what events are there in Israel? Here is the Events And Festivals By Season guide.