Visiting the oldest remaining Syriac Orthodox monastery in the world was like stepping into another place in time. Founded in 397, it is still in operation and is the seat of the archbishop of Tur Abdin. Except for a few bouts during war time the monastery has been inhabited for sixteen centuries. The scenery is beautiful; the monastery is like a limestone oasis in the middle of the desert. The sand behind the tomb of Saint Gabriel, who is buried on the premises, is said to cure illness. It can't hurt to give it a try! Visitors can take a guided tour during certain hours, often in English, and possibly have an excerpt from the Bible read to them in Aramaic, the language most often used by Jesus Christ. Just strolling around the grounds brings one peace and perspective.