Trabzon > sumela
 Sumela Monastery

Sumela Monastery which was founded on a steep rocky slopes of karadag located in the Macka district of Trabzon city , popularly known as "Mother Mary" monastery. 

Monastery stands an altitude of 300mt from valley. As the other monasteries built far from the crowded and live areas sumela monastery was built over a hill to be in seclusion.

Monastery founded in honor of the Virgin Mary  and it is said that the "Sumela" meaning "black"was derived from the mountain`s name Karabaglar yet another belief that sumela is connected to black colour over the depiction of virgin mary in monastery.

 According to a belief; monastery was  founded  during the  time of Byzantine Emperor Theodosius by two priests called Barnabas and Sophranios from Athens (375-395).  Emperor Justinian ordered the monastery to be expanded and in the 6th century monastery has been restored and repaired by Belisarios .

Since the  13th century,  the monastery have protected it`s architectural with enriched frescos and artifacts which is available and can be seen today.

Following the Turkish domination in the  eastern Black Sea coast monastery had used it`s rights and stayed opened for worshipping. Ottoman empire had respected the religion of people together with their shrines and churches.

In the  18th century monastery was restored and the walls decorated with frescoes gave  a splendid look to  monastery .

The monastery confiscated during the Russian occupation of Trabzon between 1916-1918 and it was  completely evacuated after 1923.

The major sections of Sumela are main rock church, several chapels, kitchens, student rooms, a guesthouse, library . This group of buildings was built on a very wide area. an aqueduct also can be seen at the entrance of monastery leaning to hillside.

The  entrance of monastery can be reached by  long narrow stairs. There are guards' rooms near the entrance door. From here by a  ladder you will be  reaching to inner courtyard.  On the left, in front of the caves many monastery buildings can be seen. Library is located on the right side.

Monks cells and guest houses built in 1860 are available where the big, large balcony is in the court, Turkish art effects are also seen in the rooms surrounding the court .

 Rock  that makes up the main unit of monastery  and the adjacent inner and outer walls of the chapel decorated with frescoes. 

Both in the rock church  and chapels available frescos dating back to 3 different historical period are worth to see.

In some  quite ruined  and partly removed  frescoes ; depicts virgin mary , life of jesus christ  and some biblical scenes .

How to go sumela ;

Sumela monastery located  in altindere national park , Macka district of Trabzon . Regular minibuses are available from trabzon city center to macka can be taken to access the altindere national park area. Distance from trabzon to sumela is 47 km.

When you get the altindere national park you will be amazed with wonderfull nature and river flowing in the valley. To reach the sumela monastery you need to walk up to the hill almost twenty to thirty minutes.Walking is a bit tiring however it is worth when you reach to the top.

New Comment
18 Ocak Cuma, 2013
Name and Surname:
Rudy Juarez
Message :
sumela chuch
it is inconcievable how the people built this giant monastery up on the hill hundreds years ago when i can even hardly walk up there today. İncredibleee

11 Haziran Pazartesi, 2012
Name and Surname:
yusuf altintas
Message :
sumela monastery
sumela monastery located in macka trabzon is a great place to see. it is recommended to spend sometime in the area below sumela monastery where the flowing river and green nature wait you.

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