Grotto of Gethsemane

The Grotto of the Betrayal - Grotto of the Agony

Useful Information

Location: Jerusalem, east of the Old City, in the valley below, near the Tomb of the Virgin/Church of Assumption. Walk No. 4. from Damascus Gate, Bus No. 1.
Open: All year daily 8:30-12, 14:30-17. [2004]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave. SubterraneaCave Church
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours:  
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1333 mentioned by the German Dominican Wilhelm von Boldensele.
1361 the Franciscans got possession of the grotto.
1938 entrance repaired.
1956 restoration of cave and entrance.


The Grotto of Gethsemane is the place where Jesus, betrayed by Judas, was arrested. Located in the Garden Gethsemane this natural cave was used by farmers to store grains. From the sixth century on it served some Christian communities as a cenacle. It was renovated in the 1950s, but it still looks more or less like 2000 years ago. It is the holy places in Jerusalem which has conserved its original appearance best.

The cave contains three altars with murals above. The paintings over the high altar shows Jesus praying among the Apostles, the Assumption of the Virgin and the Kiss of Judas.

During the first 400 years the place of the betrayal was a stone on the left of the pathway which linked the city of Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives. The for nearly 1000 years this cave was said to be the place of betrayal. Then it was renamed Grotto of the Agony as it was thought to be the location of the Agony of Jesus. So all in all it its difficult, not to say impossible, to determine what exactly happened here. Nevertheless its an impressive location and a holy location for thousands of visitors every year.