Sumela Monastery

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is a Greek Orthodox monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary (Panagia, meaning “The all-holy one” in Greek, a title often used for the Virgin Mary) at Melá Mountain (Turkish: Karadağ, which is a direct translation of the Greek name Sou Melá, “Black Mountain”) within the Pontic Mountains (Turkish: Kuzey Anadolu Dağları) range, in the Maçka district of Trabzon Province in  modern Turkey.

Nestled in a steep cliff at an altitude of about 1,200 meters (3,900 ft) facing the Altındere Valley, it is a site of great historical and cultural significance.

The monastery was founded in AD 386 during the reign of Emperor Theodosius I (375 – 395). According to William Miller, Barnabas, and Sophronios, two Athenian monks, founded the monastery. It became famous for an icon of the Virgin Mary known as the Panagia Gorgoepekoos, said to have been painted by the Apostle Luke.

It reached its present form in the 13th century after gaining prominence during the existence of the Empire of Trebizond.

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Construction and buildings:

The principal elements of the Monastery complex are the Rock Church, several chapels, kitchens, student rooms, a guesthouse, a library, and a sacred spring revered by Eastern Orthodox Christians.

The large aqueduct at the entrance, which supplied water to the Monastery, is constructed against the side of the cliff. The aqueduct has many arches which have mostly been restored. The entrance to the Monastery leads up a long and narrow stairway. There is a guard room next to the entrance. The stairs lead down from there to the inner courtyard. On the left, in front of a cave, there are several monastery buildings. The cave, which was converted into a church, constitutes the center of the monastery. The library is to the right.

The large building with a balcony on the front part of the cliff was used for the monks’ cells and for housing guests. It dates from 1840.

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Top 3 Activities in Sumela Monastery, Trabzon, Turkey:

  • Visiting Sumela Monastery will take you a long time.
  • The site is an ideal place to take commemorative pictures of the branch of this place and the genius of its marvelous construction prompts you to document your tour to be the memory of a unique experience you have experienced.
  • The Sumela Monastery has a beautiful café with a magnificent view of the slope.

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Visit times:

Daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

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One Comment

  1. […] of the most important landmarks of Trabzon, Turkey, is an ancient Christian monastery built by two priests in the year 386 AD. It is located […]

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