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Trabzon
Written by Siddharth on January 31, 2022 Share on

Sumela Monastery, Turkey

Sumela Monastery at Sumela is the most impressive place on Turkey’s Black Sea coast and an orthodox Greek monastery. Sumela Monastery is solely dedicated to Virgin Mary which is located in Karadağ. This is located in the Pontic Mountains which is in the Maçka district of the Trabzon Province in modern Turkey

The whole journey to the Sumela Monastery itself is an attraction. The entire expedition from the monastery’s alpine setting and the rock cliff is located in the midst of a dense green forest. Add a chill splash from the mountain stream takes everyone by surprise.

Sumela Monastery, Turkey
Image Credit: Pixabay

TOPICS COVERED :

  • About the Monastery
  • Travel from Trabzon
  • Modes of transport to the Monastery
  • Places to visit in Trabzon

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ABOUT THE MONASTERY:

The Sumela Monastery is located on a steep cliff which is around 1200 meters facing the Altındere valley. The site is of great cultural and historical significance and is a major tourist attraction within the Altındere National Park. On 22nd September 2015, the Sumela Monastery was closed and was opened again on 25th May 2019 for safety reasons. The Sumela Monastery is one of the most historic and touristic places in Trabzon.

The trip to Sumela Monastery is possible as a half-day or a full-day excursion from Trabzon. This is roughly 47 km from the south of Trabzon. It will be an approximate 30 – 40 min drive from Trabzon.

One can arrive early morning to avoid crowds, can bring lunch, and enjoy a picnic right next to the stream in the gorge. Every year on the 15th of August, the greek Orthodox service takes place in the Sumela monastery, and on those days special permission from the Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarchate to enter the Monastery. The route to the Sumela monastery is a rough passage to reach. The management is currently working on making the monastery disabled-friendly as it will be a site where all can visit.

TRAVEL FROM TRABZON:

You can follow the signs for Sumela Monastery, which is towards the south of highway E97/D885 of the town Maçka. The areas across the Monastery are currently under the Altındere Valley National Park. You will have to pay for an entrance to enter the park. You can see the monastery once you reach the base of the cliff and there are small parking areas with multiple restaurants, tea shops, and free picnic tables right over the stream.

MODES OF TRANSPORT TO THE MONASTERY:

You can drive or take a minibus up the hill to the Sumela Monastery. The road is constantly narrow and full of twists and turns. This has multiple blind corners and the road is only wide for one vehicle. As you drive up the Sumela monastery you can come across some beautiful gorges and streams and one of the streams becomes a waterfall as you cross them through bridges.

At the top of the mountain, there is a small parking area where one can find a suitable place to park on the narrow road. You can take the rest of the journey on foot all the way to the Sumela Monastery.

Also Read The Spectacular Sumela Monastery of Trabzon in Turkey.

PLACES TO VISIT IN TRABZON:

The old district of Trabzon contains multiple churches of the Byzantine empire. Some of them are mosques now. Unfortunately, the mosque is not open all the time.

Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya)

Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya)
Image Credit: Unsplash

It is a prominent area in the Trabzon region. This was a museum in 1964. The main hall is now a mosque. Hagia Sophia goes but the name as the church of Holy Wisdom or the church of Divine Wisdom. It is an important Byzantine structure in Istanbul. The Hagia Sophia was built as a Christian church under the Byzantine empire. It eventually became a mosque. The building reflects the religious changes in the region over the century. Minarets and inscriptions of Islam as well as mosaics of Christianity.

Also Read: Hagia Sophia – A Turkish Treasure That Cannot Miss Your Itinerary

Panaghia Chrysokephalos

Image Credit: Unsplash

The church of Panaghia Chrysokephalos is a cathedral in Trabzon. This was originally attached to the monastery. The church was very prominent in the center of the city. There are monastic buildings surrounding the cathedral. It’s a domed basilica with a single pentagonal apse. The cathedral has undergone several renovations. When the Ottoman Empire took over the city in 1461, they changed it into a mosque. This is now a faith mosque. This venue dates back to the 1200s and the Byzantine church is now a mosque. This is located on the campus of the Mufti of Trabzon. Like other mosques in Turkey, this is open to non-Muslims.

 

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Other Churches & Mosques

Few other notable churches in the Trabzon regions are the churches of St.Anne and the St Eugenius church.

City Market

The city market is approximately 800 yards from the west of Atatürk Alanı, which is a fun place to visit and great for photography. Different varieties of fruits and vegetables and local cheese are available. The market is crowded and easier to get lost. Moreover, there are people to help around and you can just ask for Atatürk Alanı or Meydan, you will be able to get back to the main square.

Atatürk Villa (Atatürk Köşkü)

Situated high in the hills and approximately 6 km from the southwest, is an extremely white victorian villa that overlooks the city and the sea. The villa is built by the Trapezuntine merchant family. Every time, Kemal Atatürk visits the Trabzon region the villa was his residence. This venue is famous for the formal wedding photography sessions and the villa and its grounds are open to the public for an entrance fee.

Trabzon Museum (Kostaki Mansion)

The mansion is constructed by a prominent banker, Kostaki Theophylaktos in the early 1900s. It is currently a museum and part of the Trabzon history. Whereby making the exhibits in the mansion comprises of Trabzon’s archeological and ethnographic history. The mansion is a prime example of upper-class ottoman black Sea domestic culture.

Ayder & Rize

The village of Ayder and the tea cultivating region of Rize to the east of Trabzon are a place worth exploring.

Also Read: What Not To Miss In Turkey


The monastery is in the beautiful Altindere National Park, which overlooks the green forest and water streams. The Sumela monastery has a rich history and is of great religious importance. The monastery now serves mainly as a tourist attraction.

The Sumela Monastery is truly amazing and carries lots of historical and religious significance. Planning on visiting Sumela Monastery on your Turkey Vacation. Head on to Pick Your Trail we customize itineraries based on travelers’ needs.

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