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Sumela Monastery

Amazing Places in Turkey


With its stunning, lonely setting, built into a cliff face, Sumela Monastery (Monastery of the Virgin Mary) is the star attraction for visitors along the Black Sea Coast. Wandering around this abandoned religious complex, with its church interiors crammed with dazzling and vibrant frescoes, is a must for anyone who makes the long journey to Turkey’s northeast region.

The monastery first opened during the Byzantine era and was only closed in 1923. Today, wandering its empty cells, it’s easy to imagine the isolated lives of the monks who once lived here.

The majestic Sumela Monastery in Turkey’s Black Sea province of Trabzon aims to welcome a total of 500,000 local and foreign tourists this year, an official said.

Ali Ayvazoglu, the provincial head of the Culture and Tourism Ministry, told Anadolu Agency that built on a steep cliff at an altitude of 1,200 meters in Altindere National Park, the monastic complex have hosted around 50,000 tourists until last month after it opened to visitors on May 25 following a three-year restoration work.

Located in the Macka district of Trabzon, the monastery is a site of historical and cultural significance as well as a major tourist attraction. It was included in UNESCO’s temporary list of World Heritage sites in 2000.