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Sümela Monastery: A Mystical Building


Sümela Monastery: A Site of Great Historical and Cultural Significance

Sümela Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries on the earth constructed between AD 365-395 located in the district of Maçka in Trabzon. The construction date and the appearance of the monastery are what makes it special for both local and foreign visitors.

Among the local people, the monastery is known as the “Monastery of the Virgin Mary”.  The Sümela Monastery had significant roles throughout the history. The monastery was used as an important place for educational purposes especially during Eastern Roman Emperor while it was a respected place during the Ottomans.

When you visit the monastery for the first time, you will see how fantastic the scene is. It is located on top of rocks. Since it is located on the rocks, there is a rock church inside with chapels and other sections, like study rooms for students. You will also have the chance to see the symbols of different cultures in the monastery as you wander around.

How to go to Sumela Monastery

Small Markets Selling Local Things On The Road To Sümela Monastery
Small markets selling local things on the road to Sümela Monastery

Since the monastery is located on the rocks, it is not possible to drive there. You will need to stop your car and walk through a patch specifically built for the monastery. If you are a person who loves walking especially on mountains, you will like not only the monastery itself but also the journey to the building. On your way you will see some small businesses selling local food. You can take a rest at those points.

You should keep in mind that the monastery is currently undergoing restoration and closed to visitors. The Turkish government is planning to finish the restoration by the beginning of 2017. You should check with the Tourism department before making your plan to Sümela Monastery.

From Maçka to Sümela Monastery takes about 40 minutes. Do not expect crowded intercity roads like from Istanbul to Ankara. Though there is not usually much traffic on the road and it is only 20km from Maçka, you will need to drive slowly and carefully. You will pass through village roads, like Akarsu Köyü, Kırantaş Köyü, and Coşandere Köyü.

The monastery is within Altındere Valley National Park. As shown in the map below, you will need to walk after getting off from your car. Just follow the signs to the monastery.

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