Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land Garden
Surrounding the Memorial Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the grounds of northeast Washington’s Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land invite pilgrims of all faiths to visit replicas of famous Holy Land shrines. The church, designed by Roman architect Aristide Leonori and built in 1898-99, is Byzantine in style with a late Romanesque monastery behind it. The grounds, which originally included a small farm, consist of formal and picturesque gardens.
Framing the upper, more formal garden, is the Rosary Portico designed by John Joseph Earley, an innovator in decorative concrete whose work can also be seen at Meridian Hill Park. Reminiscent of St. John the Lateran’s cloister in Rome, the portico contains 15 chapels commemorating the lives of Jesus and Mary in colorful mosaics, and acts as both a border and entrance gate for the churchyard. Formal plantings of boxwood and masses of roses line the walks, palm and banana trees dot the lawns, and brightly-colored annuals surround memorial statuary. The lower gardens are less formal and highlight fourteen Stations of the Cross. Winding paths with woodland plantings of azaleas, ferns, and hellebores reveal grottoes, chapels, replicas of tombs and spaces for devotion. The site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.