TURKEY: MOR GABRIEL MONASTERY AND MIDYAT

Posted November 28, 2009 by David McGuinness

Today I had only one sight on my schedule but it was a little bit out of the way. After catching a bus to the bus station, another bus to the town of Midyat, yet another along the highway towards Cizre I was dropped off by a turn-off on the road. From here I walked the 2.5km through sandy silent landscape nonetheless populated with many hardy trees to Mor Gabriel monastery.

This beautiful Christian monastery is the home of the Archbishop of the Mountain of the Servants of God, and is where St. Gabriel was buried. The sand near his tomb is believed to have healing properties. The monastery dates from the late 4th century and its frescoes, carvings, and subtle architecture are a real treat.

Here I met the first Westerner I had seen in several days – an American, Derick, who is teaching English in Istanbul and with whom I shared a taxi back to Midyat. He brought me to a beautiful old Han (house) which now serves as a restaurant and we had some lunch and tasted some of the areas wines, reputed to be the best in Turkey. Although served cold, which may just have been the result of where they were stored, they were certainly very palatable.

Tomorrow I will check out Hassankeyf, a village not far from here that is famed for its history, its beautiful honey-coloured buildings and its setting above the Tigris river. It is due to be flooded however, (if and) when the government builds a dam that will flood a vast region and many historic sites. Hopefully an increase in visitors to this area will deter the government and the project will be pulled.

This blog is part of an Off-The-Beaten-Track Travel Diary. Click on the links below to navigate through this journey.

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