Sumela (Virgin Mary) Monastery
Coordinate: 40º51’09.78’’K 39º39’46.45’’D Height: 289 m
It was built on a large cave in steep slopes, 300 meters high from Altındere Valley and 17 km south of Maçka district Sumela Monastery is called “Virgin Mary” among the people.
Monastery was built in its current location by Alexios III (1349-1390) from Trabzon Komnenos in 1360. When Manuel III (1390-1417), son of Alexios III, acceded a piece that is believed to belong to Jesus’ crucifixion is gifted to Sumela.
Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror taken over Trabzon in 1461 and commanded an edict indicating to protect the rights of the monastery. Sultan Selim the Excellent gifted two candlesticks to the monastery.
Sumela Monastery which has a magnificent appearance as a castle is reached by a steep and narrow stairway after climbing a path. It is possible to reach nearby vehicles after constructing a road in recent years. The structure is a large complex with 6 floors including two terraces, and 72 rooms. A 120 meters long aqueduct leaning on the hillside near the stairway provided the water need of the complex.
There were guard rooms near the entrance door, and inner courtyard was entered by a stairway from here. The cave converted into a church is on the left, and the library is on the right. Inner and outer walls of the church and chapel next to it are decorated with frescoes.
Magnificent buildings covering the front of the cave were used as guest rooms and they are dated to 1860. Sumela Monastery was taken under protection and opened to visitors since 1972.