Vintage landscape: Gethsemane

I’ll take one more pass at the interesting photographs of the Library of Congress Matson Collection  (American Colony of Jerusalem).

“Garden of Gethsemane in snow,” February 28, 1938.

The American Colony photographers took many pictures of the Garden of Gethsemane during the first half of the 20th century. Presumably, they were big sellers in the Colony’s tourist shop near Jaffa Gate.

“Garden of Gethsemane semi-distant with overhanging olive branch,” c. 1898-1946.  The garden is in the middle of the photo.  Click the image to enlarge it.

‘Gethsemane’ is a Greek word derived from an Aramaic word for ‘oil-press.’ The Roman Catholic-administered garden is located at the foot of the Mount of Olives. It is one of four locations in the area currently claimed by different religions as the place where Jesus prayed the night before the crucifixion.

“Jerusalem. Gethsemane from convent roof showing city wall and Golden Gate.” Image hand-colored c. 1950 – 1970, but original black and white photo was probably taken earlier.

In the gospels of Matthew and Mark, it is called by a word meaning ‘place,’ ‘property,’ or ‘estate.’ In the gospel of John, the Greek word ‘kepos’ is used; it can mean ‘garden,’ but also ‘cultivated tract of land.’

“Garden of Gethsemane, inside enclosure.”

The first recorded pilgrimage to the site was made in 333 A.D. by the anonymous “Pilgrim of Bordeaux,” who recorded his travels in the Holy Land in Itinerarium Burdigalense.

“Jerusalem (El-Kouda, Garden of Gethsemane, interior),” c. 1898-1914.

The building attached to the garden, the Church of All Nations, was built in the 1920s. The garden’s olive trees are said to be 2,000, 1,000, or 900 years old, depending on the source.

“The terrible plague of locusts in Palestine, March-June 1915. The same garden after visitation by the locust.”

In 1915, a plague of locusts swept through Palestine, stripping areas — including the garden — of all vegetation. The American Colony was asked to photograph the devastation, which caused food shortages, by the Ottoman-Turkish governor for “Syria and Arabia.”

The Garden of Gethsemane remains a popular tourist and pilgrimage destination today.

7 thoughts on “Vintage landscape: Gethsemane

  1. Cindy, Did you get in touch with the “happiness engineers” at WordPress to let them know about your image problems? I think they’re in the process of reprogramming and it has created a lot of glitches — my own frustration is difficulty leaving comments on Blogspot blogs with my WordPress open ID credentials.
    Looking forward to seeing what’s happening in your Kigali garden.

  2. I love olive trees. The plague was so devastating on all the vegetation. There’s a garden blogger, named Christina who had her olives pressed for oil last year. You might be interested in this post.

  3. thank you for posting these pics. was there with my father 3 years ago. He was baptised in the Jordan river. he died unexpectedly in january. we shared communion near golgotha……XO T

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