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“A Jerusalem Basilica that invites to pray unceasingly!”

Garden of Gethsemane
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Full-Day Trip of Jerusalem and Bethlehem from Tel Aviv
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Jerusalem Half-Day Tour from Tel Aviv: Dome of the Rock and Western Wall
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Old Jerusalem Day Trip from Tel Aviv
Ranked #12 of 313 things to do in Jerusalem
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Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: Located outside the walls of Jerusalem, this beautiful garden among a grove of olive trees is thought to be the place where Jesus particularly enjoyed prayer and contemplation.
Reviewed 4 June 2014

Prayer is the lifeblood of any true believer. At the foot of Mount Olives in Jerusalem stands the Basilica of All Nations or of the Lord's Agony. The Basilica has gotten the first name because it was reconstructed with the generous contributions of a number of so-called Christian nations. It is also called the other way because of the confirmed tradition from archeological findings that the Lord's agony mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels must have taken place here. One cannot miss it; it lies along the road that leads to Jericho. If one comes out from the Old City through the Lion's Gate, and turns to the right down to Kidron Valley, then one sees this Basilica. The mosaic at the facade is best contemplated across the road in front of the Basilica. Located a little higher than this are the small golden cupolas of a Russian church dedicated to Saint Mary Magdalene, which could serve as a marker from a distance. The actual Basilica was built only last century and in the process of its construction, in 1919 the original traces of the first Byzanrtine basilica were found with the clear identification of the rock on which the Lord prayed in agony. The Crusaders’ basilica was also identified. The modern Basilica is constructed in such a way that even at daytime it is dark with the purpose of inducing prayerful silence. Explanatory notes are found outside the Basilica in front on either side of the main door. No explanations are supposed to be given inside to maintain the atmosphere of prayerful silence despite the possible continuous flow of people coming and going, some of whom do spend moments of prayer in the Basilica. The olive trees on the grounds of the Basilica cannot be traced back to the times of Jesus, owing to the destructions that ensued with the Muslim invasions. Still they must be very old; the oldest ones must date back only to the twelfth century A.D. The Basilica has beautiful icons representing some scenes of Jesus' agony there before his betrayal by one of his closest disciples. The white rough stone at the very middle of the Basilica right in front of the altar locates Jesus' prayer in the garden. Every first Thursday at 20:30 Hrs, a Holy Hour takes place done very contemplatively. At its end, a procession takes place with the Blessed Sacrament around the garden outside beside the Basilica, which ends back inside it with the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Pilgrims, who might be interested to spend some moments and even days of silence in prayer and solitude, could avail themselves of the Shrine's hermitage towards the upper section of the Shrine, which is exclusively used by the "hermits". One may seek information and further arrangement with the friar concerned through this email address: <romitaggio@custodia.org>

Across the present road going upwards to the Mount of Olives lies the Grotto that recalls the place where Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot. During the excavations in the fifties of last century, the evolution of the tradition of the place was clarified. There were oil presses there (Gethsemani) in the natural grottos dating to the Jewish-Christian times. If there was confusion of the place where Jesus was handed over to his enemies by Judas Iscariot and the place where he prayed in agony, it was due to the destruction of the Crusaders' Basilica by Saladin, so that in the 12th century they referred to this place as the site of Jesus’ sweating of blood. The Memorial of the Agony was transferred to that site already in the 14th century when the Basilica had been already in ruins and it was the only existing memorial.

1  Thank Benny B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 3 June 2014

Amidst the hustle and bustle that goes with any big city, this was a haven. The sights of Jerusalem are wonderful but getting around is very tiring. However this little haven is wonderful. Gethsemane meaning the place of the olive mills, where olive oil is extracted. The church is beautiful, almost breathtaking. Unlike many other religious places, this is not cluttered with too many icons and other religious paraphernalia distracting from the beauty and serenity of the Holy places.

Thank OughtiJohn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 May 2014

This was my third visit to the Garden, and on every visit I'm awestruck by the significance. Jesus probably wasn't in this garden but like so many other things in Jerusalem it's the idea that matters. He was in a garden like this one -- the age of the olive trees in this garden will nearly convince you that the garden is authentic. The garden is a terrific place to snap photos, but it's not a good place to pause and pray because they've not provided for that. It's always busy and there are always "guys" who want to be your guide, but a good guidebook is all you need, along with your own eyes and heart. It doesn't take much to see Jesus praying in the garden, or to see Judas betraying him. The Church of All Nations is adjacent and inside there's a slab of stone that's supposedly where Jesus stood in the garden, but this, too, must be by tradition, meaning that it might have been. The church has a constant flow of visitors snapping photos, so it's not ideal for praying. But it's worth the walk across the street from the Old City for the experience.

Thank John52342
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 May 2014

We visited many sites in Jerusalem but the Garden of Gethsemane was one of the highlights. This place has been preserved as it probably was at the time of Christ. The olive trees are extremely old and still there, and if you disregard the pathways,you can get an idea of the place Jesus used. We found that in their effort to legitimize and protect many of the holy sites, churches have been built, and beautiful as they may be, they detract (for us) from the actual spot. This left the Garden as one of the few sites that you could stand and contemplate what happened there with a great visual.

1  Thank Beverley C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 May 2014

I went with a group from church and to be honest this was one of the highlights of the trip. We were in a private part of the garden and the peace and experience of the presence of Jesus was wonderful.

Thank Gastodoc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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