Seen in the attached photo is this lone ancient tower known as the Hermit's Tower. It lies to the west of the monastery among other ancient ruins, including those of two mausoleums and the Church of Mor Shemun. They were part of the older monastic complex, when Mor Gabriel was even larger and more important than it is today. Unfortunately, our tour...more
Also known as the Church of the Forty Martyrs, this burial chamber is the Crypt of Mor Gabriel Monastery. In Syriac, it is called Beth Qadishe, or "House of Saints" and is said to contain the relics of some 12,000 saints and martyrs, including those of Saint Gabriel of Qartmin, after whom the Monastery is named, and of Saint Samuel (Shmuyel), one...more
Built in the 6th or 7th century AD, the Church of the Virgin Mary is a second church within Mor Gabriel Monastery. Some historians believe it was commissioned by Saint Gabriel of Qartmin himself while he was Bishop residing at the monastery, but if this were true, then its date of construction would definitively be in the 7th century AD. At the...more
Another striking ancient structure within Mor Gabriel Monastery is the Dome of Theodora. As its name indicates, it was commissioned by Empress Theodora, wife of Emperor Justinian, after her visit to the monastery in the first half of the 6th century AD, which speaks volumes about the importance of this Monastery during that period. To give some...more
Beneath the two bell towers and red-tiled roof of Mor Gabriel Monastery lies the Great Church of Mor Gabriel, dedicated to the 7th century Bishop of Tur Abdin, Gabriel of Qartmin. The striking structure was built in 512 AD by the architects Theodore and Theodosius, and it was in part funded by Roman Emperor Anastasius. Despite its age, the Great...more
Mor Gabriel Monastery is located some 20 minutes south-east of Midyat. Although taxis in Midyat would likely take you there and back (pre-arrange the return!), the remote monastery is best reached with one's own transportation (of course, a map or Google Maps would come in handy). The road south of Midyat is a quite good, recently paved one (as of Dec 2012), and there is a sign that points to the turn towards the monastery. Beware though, the turn is immediately after the sign and one could easily miss it. After the turn, the road is very narrow and not in great shape. The route snakes around beautiful semi-arid cliffs and agricultural landscape, like those seen in the attached photos.
For further information on the Tur Abdin, I recommend reading the following:
* Syriac Monasticism in Tur Abdin: A Present-Day Account, by Mark DelColgiano (an essay that can be found on the internet).
* From the Holy Mountain, by William Dalrymple.
* Turabdin, Living Cultural Heritage, by Hans Hollerweger