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Spreading over an area of only 13,000 square feet (1,200 square meters) at the foot of the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane is believed to have been visited by Jesus prior to his death. Join pilgrims following in the footsteps of Christ and wander along the garden’s paths, which are bordered by gnarled, old-growth olive trees.
The name Gethsemane is derived from the Hebrew term, gat shmanim, which means “oil press.” As you amble around the paths, pause to enjoy the views, which extend over the Kidron Valley and the Old City of Jerusalem.
Find out more about the garden and why it is such an important site in Christendom. It is believed that the garden is where Jesus and his disciples came to pray on the night before his death. Many Christians come here to reflect on the events of that night as told in the Bible.
Seek out the Grotto of Gethsemane, where the disciples are thought to have rested while the suffering Jesus prayed. The sheltered natural cave-like space now features an altar with a painting depicting Jesus and the apostles.
As you explore the garden, look for the oldest olive trees, which are protected by metal railings. People speculate that several trees in the garden are descendants of those present during Jesus’ time . The metal fence surrounding the oldest trees protects them from over-eager pilgrims who may want to break off branches as keepsakes.
While here, visit the Church of All Nations, which sits adjacent to the garden. This early 20th-century Franciscan basilica hosts the ancient exposed slab of rock where it is said Jesus prayed.
Find the Garden of Gethsemane at the base of Mount of Olives. Entrance is via a narrow lane at the back of the church. The garden is open daily from morning through late afternoon, with temporary closures at lunchtime. Though the garden is frequently busy, a peaceful and contemplative atmosphere pervades. Entrance is free.
It's worth giving yourself plenty of time at Garden of Gethsemane. Below are some of the top things to do:
For many more activities, take a look at our Jerusalem things to do page.
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