Sumela Monastery, also known as the Monastery of Panagia Sumela, is a historic monastery located in the Macka district of Trabzon Province in modern-day Turkey. The monastery is situated on the steep cliffs of the Altindere Valley, facing the Altindere National Park. It is one of the most significant and iconic landmarks in the region.
Key features of the Sumela Monastery include:
Location: The monastery is perched on a cliff approximately 300 meters above the Altindere Valley, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.History: The Sumela Monastery has a rich history dating back to the 4th century. It is believed to have been founded during the reign of Emperor Theodosius I (375–395 AD). Over the centuries, it has undergone several renovations and expansions.Architectural Style: The architecture of the Sumela Monastery reflects a combination of Greek and Georgian styles. The complex consists of a church, several chapels, a library, student rooms, and a sacred spring.Religious Significance: The monastery is dedicated to the Virgin Mary (Panagia in Greek), and it was an important religious center for Orthodox Christians. The site was considered sacred, and pilgrims from various regions would visit to pay homage to the Virgin Mary.Frescoes: The interiors of the Sumela Monastery are adorned with intricate frescoes depicting scenes from the lives of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, and various saints. These frescoes are notable for their artistic and historical value.Closure and Restoration: The Sumela Monastery was closed in 1923 during the early years of the Turkish Republic, following the population exchanges between Greece and Turkey. In recent years, there have been efforts to restore and reopen the monastery for tourism.Tourist Attraction: Despite its closure for many years, Sumela Monastery remains a popular tourist attraction, drawing visitors from around the world who are interested in its history, architecture, and stunning natural setting.