Garden of Gethsemane

| October 17, 2012 | 0 Comments
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Mewasul  CC BY-SA 3.0 Garden of Gethsemane

Mewasul  CC BY-SA 3.0
Garden of Gethsemane

The Garden of Gethsemane Story

The Garden of Gethsemane is a meandering, walled garden containing olive trees dating back to the time of the Christian Savior situated in proximity to the Church of All Nations. Located at the foot of the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem, the Garden of Gethsemane is certain to be a focal point for any Christian pilgrimage to the Holy Land. According to tradition, this is the spot where the Christian Savior prayed both together with his disciples and alone prior to his arrest and crucifixion.

Many believe that the gnarled and ancient olive trees are the last surviving silent witnesses to the agony of the Christian Savior as he prayed for strength with his death looming just hours away. For most people, visiting this site and imagining the emotion expended here in prayer is a profound and moving experience – one that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.

The Garden of Gethsemane tends to be quite crowded. If the crowds keep you from enjoying the experience to its fullest, arrive early in the morning or very late in the afternoon, when the crowds are thin. However, should you arrive during a more popular time, you can still enjoy a sense of privacy on the winding trail.

Wikipedia user PetarM  CC BY-SA 3.0 Walking Through the Garden of Gethsemane

Wikipedia user PetarM  CC BY-SA 3.0
Walking Through the Garden

While elderly olive trees lend authenticity to the site, some visitors have expressed the idea that the spot would be more enjoyable had it been left as it would have appeared in the 1st century CE. Today, the garden is well-maintained and manicured.

Christian Pilgrims

The name of the garden comes from the Hebrew for olive press, “Gat Shemanim,” an apt name for an ancient olive grove. The area has long been an important site for Christian pilgrims. The earliest documented visit to the area was in 333 CE by the Pilgrim of Bordeaux, who wrote about it in his work Itinerarium Burdigalense, considered to be among the first known Christian travelogues on the Holy Land.

Visiting the Garden of Gethsemane

If you come to visit the Garden of Gethsemane during October, before the winter rains set in, you may happen upon farmers harvesting the olives that still grow on the 2,000-year-old trees. The trunks of these olive trees may be the largest you’ve ever seen.

Koosg  CC BY-SA 3.0 View of Gesthemane from Mount of Olives

Koosg  CC BY-SA 3.0
View of Gesthemane from Mount of Olives

There is no admittance fee for visiting this noted site. The long and tortured history of the spot is somehow entwined with that of the amazing country in which it is situated; a country that has been fought over by so many and which lay desolate, only to survive to see a modern-day renaissance.

Mount of Olives

To get to the Garden of Gethsemane, walk through the Dung Gate, turning left toward the Mount of Olives, go through the gate, and walk down the stairs leading to the Kidron Valley. Here you’ll see a long trail leading directly to the Garden of Gethsemane.

Garden of Gethsemane: Did You Know?

Beware of opportunists who try to palm off olive branches on unwitting tourists, with the claim that the branches are holy. It’s a scam. Just shake your head firmly, avoid eye contact, and continue on your way. If a branch is handed to you, you will be asked for a “donation.”

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Category: Christianity

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