Sumela Monastery

Sumela Monastery

Sumela Monastery is a former Christian monastery that lies 55 km (34 mi) Southeast of Trabson, Trabzon Province in Turkey. It is one of the largest and most impressive Byzantine religious complexes in the country.


ocation: 55 km (34 mi) Southeast of Trabson, Trabzon Province Map

Tel. (0462)230 19 66

Open: May- Oct: 8am- 6pm daily

Nov- Apr: 9am- 3pm daily


Description of Sumela Monastery

Roman persecutions were behind and many eager men and woman started looking for other ways to prove their devotion and seek harmony with God. This Greek Orthodox monastery was found in 386 AD during reign of Emperor Theodosius I (375 - 395). Two monks settled here after they discovered an icon of Holy Virgin. They took it as a sign from the Theotokos or Mother of God and decided to settle here in the wild cliffs. It was devoted to Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ. Over centuries it grew in size and complexity. Few hand carved caves turned into a large structure covered by frescoes of Saint Mary, Jesus and many other saints. It reached its height in the middle of the 14th century during reign of Byzantine emperor Alexios III (1349- 90). During conquest by the Ottoman Turks the monastery escaped destruction and looting. In fact Ottoman Sultan (ruler) Mehmed II granted Sumela Monastery his personal protection in 1461. The monastery was abandoned in 1923 after many Greeks left the borders of the former Ottoman Empire. The abbey subsequently was turned into a museum open to tourists. The site is currently put on a tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Site.