A fortified church

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From a distance the four circular towers of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Mor Hadbashabo at Gülgöze in the Tur Abdin near Midyat make it look more like a fortress than a house of worship, and will remind some visitors of the fortified churches around Albi in the south of France.

It was here that many people holed up in 1914 during fighting that left many locals dead; bullet holes visible in the walls survive as a poignant reminder of a tragedy that formed part of a wider Suryani disaster called the "Sayfo". It’s a story described in William Dalrymple’s wonderful travelogue, From the Holy Mountain.

The church’s delicate 20th-century belltower looks effete in comparison with the rest of the building, but it’s well worth climbing up onto the roof to appreciate the magnificent view and to gaze down on ruined houses that look just like those of better-known Cappadocia.

There are three other churches of varying sizes in the village, evidence that it once had a large Suryani population now down to the last four families (2015).


There are no places to stay here. The best choice of hotels nearby is in Midyat.

Transport info

The easiest way to visit Gülgöze is to hire a taxi in Midyat.

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