In all my time living in Jerusalem, I have never made it in person to the Garden of Gethsemane, one of many key points of interest to people of the Christian and/or Catholic faiths. Yet, it is just around the corner from Jerusalem's Old City. I decided to venture there the other day with the company of a good friend who would be able to shed some light on this historic arboretum:
As most of you already know, the Garden of Gethsemane is known for being the location where Jesus prayed in agony the night of his betrayal and arrest following the Last Supper. There is historical proof that he was here with his disciplines in this very quaint garden:
As you can see below, you are able to see the Old City walls of Jerusalem from the Garden of Gethsemane. In fact, those double arches (near the telephone pole, how very modern...) mark the location of the Golden Gate, where believers (of the Jewish faith) expect the Messiah to come forth through in the future:
Here's a bit of a better look at the Kidron Valley standing inbetween the Old City and the Garden of Gethsemane. And also, closer-up shots of the Golden Gate which is attached to the Temple Mount:
Back in the Garden of Gethsemane now, we continue to stroll the grounds that are filled with ancient olive trees, some of which are up to 2,000 years old. There is no fee to get inside, but I do advise getting there early because the crowds come roaring in with buses full of tourists:
As I mentioned, some of the trees are nearly 2,000 years old; and if you've done the math, you'll figure out that these might even have been the very trees around during the time of Jesus, which is an exciting fact for his followers:
Next door to the Garden of Gethsemane is the Church of All Nations, because of course there needs to be a church at every point of religious significance. This church was built upon two previous churches in the same location. Specifically, the Church of All Nations was constructed in the 1920s with the monetary assistance of several different countries, hence its name:
As you can see, the above photo depicts the inside of the Church of All Nations where you will find details of the important events that took place in this area, including Jesus praying alone, Judas' betrayal of Jesus and the cutting off of the ear of the High Priest's Servant.
The Garden of Gethsemane was an interesting place to visit and it has been interesting for me to piece together bits and pieces of what I've seen in Israel from a Christian's or Catholic's point of view, including important locations such as Nazareth, Capernaum, the Christian Quarter, Via Dolorosa and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It's always fascinating to take a look into religions other than your own which ironically inhabit virtually the same locations that are important to my own religion. For more information on a walking tour that takes you to Garden of Gethsemane, visit here.