Garo Nalbandian

Enveloped in serenity, Père Benoit strolls the grounds of the St. Étienne monastery complex near the Damascus Gate. Built in the 1880s by French Dominican fathers, the compound includes a church erected on the site of the fifth-century A.D. church of St. Stephen; a convent; and the French school of archaeology, the École Biblique et Archéologique Française. Cloisters and high exterior walls ensure scholars and students uninterrupted pursuit of their studies.

A few hundred yards away, street vendors noisily hawk their wares outside the Damascus Gate.