Built above the remains of two previous churches, this Franciscan basilica crowns the site where Jesus is believed to have prayed through the night before he was betrayed (Matthew 26:36). Inside the church, also referred to as the Sanctuary of the Agony of Jesus, light is muted by stained-glass windows and the vaulted ceiling spangled with stars, to evoke the mood of Jesus's nocturnal prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane.
The exposed rock near the altar is believed to be where Jesus prayed.
A Byzantine church, destroyed by an 8th-century earthquake, and a Crusader church from the 13th century predate the neoclassical-meets-art-nouveau church standing today (completed in 1924). The seals of 12 countries that financed the project are located in the church ceiling.