Sumela Monastery is the oldest monastery in the world, which is located on the territory of modern Turkey, 50 km from the city of Trabzon. The monastery is one of the main shrines of Christians from around the world. The monastery is unique not only in its age (and it is already more than 16 centuries old), but also in its location. The fact is that the monastery was built in an inaccessible place, literally carved into the rock at an altitude of more than 300 meters above sea level. Also, the monastery is known under the names of Panagia Sumela, the Monastery of the Virgin Mary, Panagia Monastery.
History of Sumela Monastery
According to ancient chronicles, Sumela Monastery was founded by two Greek monks – Varnaviy and Safroniy in the year 386. The monastery was carved into the Mela mount, which is located in the north-east of modern Turkey. This hard-to-reach place was not chosen by chance. The fact is that since the foundation of the monastery until 1923, valuable religious artifacts have been kept here. In order to preserve the privacy of the monastery and prevent its looting, this place was chosen. However, as it became clear later, even such a location could not save the monastery from vandals.
The monastery has existed for more than 16 centuries, and of course, he witnessed many historical events. At different periods of history, different rulers ruled the land on which the monastery stands. However, at all times, all the rulers from ancient to medieval with respect to the monastery and the monks. Even in the days of the Ottoman Empire, the monastery enjoyed great honor and respect among the Turkish sultans. This continued until the 19th century. In 1923, during the beginning of the Revolution in Turkey. the monastery was robbed and partially destroyed. Part of the painting on the walls was destroyed, the other is badly damaged. Fortunately, the main part of the monastery buildings has been preserved, thanks to the fact that they were carved into the rock, and not built of stone.
Today, Sumela Monastery is an inactive Christian monastery, where thousands of pilgrims from all over the world come every year. Since 2006, the Turkish authorities carry out reconstruction work here. According to the plan they should be completed in the second half / end of 2019.
How to get to Sumela Monastery?
The easiest and most convenient way to get to Sumela Monastery is to buy a tour at one of the travel agencies in Trabzon. This group tour includes a roundtrip transfer and a guide.
If you want to explore the monastery on your own, then you need to rent a car or take a taxi. Getting to the monastery by public transport is impossible. Follow the E 97 to the sign with the pointer Macka. Next, turn into the mountains and continue to the parking lot. Regardless of which transport you choose, you will need to walk about 2 km from the parking to the monastery on a steep mountainside.
Nearest hotels to Sumela Monastery
At the foot of the mountain on which the Sumela Monastery is located, there are several hotels. In addition, a large selection of hotels you will find in Trabzon. Among the nearest hotels to the monastery are:
- Voice Hotel
- Jolnar Garden Hotel
- Medd Garden Otel
- Radisson Blu Hotel Trabzon
- Novotel Trabzon
- Sera Lake Resort
Nearest restaurants to Sumela Monastery
In the vicinity of the Sumela Monastery there are many different restaurants and cafes where you can taste traditional Turkish drinks and dishes. Among them:
- Hamsikoy Yayla Lokantasi
- Zigana Kral Sofrasi
- Sumer Restoran
- Yavuzlar Kofte Salonu