The Gethsemane Gardens are located near the Church of All Nations at the western base of the Mt of Olives in Jerusalem. It is a small grove of olive trees dating to Biblical times. The garden is well maintained. In addition to the olive trees there are many bougainvilleas.
Garden of Gat Shmanim with old olive trees
In Hebrew Gat Shmanim
The Christian tradition says that this is the place where Judas hung himself from the branches of an olive tree after the betrayal of Jesus.
The location has been corroborated at the bottom of the Mount of Olives opposite the Temple Mount Jerusalem. In subsequent years many churches where built here on the site where it is believed that Jesus prayed during the night before his crucifixion.
The name, in Hebrew Gat Shmanim or oil press, is a suggestion that in the grove of olive trees an oil press was located. The area was totally covered with olive trees at that time. Now is mostly barren land due in part to the siege of Jerusalem led by Titus in 70 CE.
Olive tree hundreds of years old
According to Josephus, Titus had every tree around Jerusalem cut down for a distance of 15 kilometers. The trees currently in the Garden thus could not possibly be the same that would have been here during the time of Jesus. It is possible; however, that one or more could have grown from a stump left by Titus.
Though the exact location of the Gardens cannot be determined with certainty, Armenian, Greek, Latin, and Russian churches have accepted an olive grove on the western slope of the Mount of Olives as the authentic site, which was so regarded by the empress Helena, mother of Constantine, the first Christian emperor on the early Fourth Century AD.
An ancient tradition also locates the scene of the prayer and betrayal of Jesus at a place now called the Grotto of the Agony, near a bridge that crosses the Kidron Valley. At another possible location, south of this site in a garden containing old olive trees is a Latin church erected by Franciscan monks on the ruins of a Fourth century church.
Beautiful manicured Garden
Visiting the Gardens
Access to the Gardens is a bit tricky not only
because of location but also due to split opening hours with a regular midday
After a visit of the Church of All nations you may visit the actual garden. There is little to do there aside from having a few moments of thought and prayer at the presumed site of Jesus’ betrayal. Enjoy the quiet; it's one of the few places in Jerusalem that you can find it.
Churches on and around the gardens of Gethsemane
Surrounded by Holy Churches
Besides the Church of All Nations there are a few important places nearby, like the Tomb of the Virgin Mary, the Church of Mary Magdalene, the Russian Orthodox Church of the Ascension and the Second or the Fourteen Stations of the Via Dolorosa, the path Jesus walked carrying the cross to his crucifixion.
The Gethsemane Gardens is definitely a must visit when in Jerusalem Israel.
Copyright Tuchman Israel Guide
2015 - 2019