Sümela Monastery popular after restoration
Sümela Monastery, which opened to visitors on May 25 following a four-year-long comprehensive restoration and rock improvement work, has welcomed 2,000 visitors in four days since the opening on May 25.
One of Turkey’s important tourism destinations in the Black Sea province of Trabzon, the Sümela Monastery had been closed for four years due to restoration works. On May 25, some parts of the monastery were opened.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, the Trabzon Provincial Culture and Tourism Director Ali Ayvazoğlu said that the number of visitors was 2,063 from May 25 to the night of May 28.
“This is a very good figure despite coinciding with the month of Ramadan. We expect to welcome approximately 600,000 people this year. I believe that we can reach this number of visitors,” he said.
Speaking about the number of visitors before the start of the restoration process in 2015, Ayvazoğlu said, “The monastery was open to visitors in 2017 and 2018 during the restoration. Our visitors had the chance to see the monastery from the terrace of the Hagia Varvara Church, which is 200 meters away from the Sümela Monastery. Some 157,000 people in 2017 and 290,000 people in 2018 both visited the area and saw the Sümela Monastery from a distance and also benefited from the National Park.”
Ayvazoğlu said that Sümela reached 290,000 visitors even when it was closed, and this year, it would be easy to reach 600,000 visitors.
He said that the entrance fee of the monastery had become 10 Turkish Liras.
After the end of the work, the process will start for the Sümela Monastery to be included in the main list of the UNESCO World Heritage.
Sümela Monastery was closed in 2015 for a restoration process to eliminate danger caused by the rock masses around Karadağ Mountain. Restoration works have also been ongoing inside the historical monastery.
It is a Greek Orthodox monastery and also has a very significant place in the history of art. It is believed that the monastery was constructed in the 4th century, although Alexios III (1349 – 1390) can be named as the real founder.
It is inside the Altındere National Park and is surrounded by a beautiful forest. At the bottom of the mountain flows one of the arms of Değirmendere Creek.
Vehicles can reach up to the parking lot at 950 meters height near the river, and from that point one needs to hike uphill through the path way approximately 1 km to reach the entrance of the monastery, which is located 1,200 meters above sea level.