Virgin Mary Monastery to open to tourism
GİRESUN - Doğan News Agency
Turkey’s second biggest monastery built out of a mountain, the Virgin Mary Monastery is close to the village of Kayadibi in Giresun. DHA photosThe Virgin Mary Monastery, located in the northern province of Giresun’s Şebinkarahisar district, has been undergoing a restoration project and is set to finish this year.
Turkey’s second biggest monastery built out of a mountain, the Virgin Mary Monastery is close to the village of Kayadibi. The restoration started on the monastery in 2006, said Giresun Provincial Culture and Tourism Deputy Director Hüseyin Günaydın, adding, “We plan to open the monastery to faith tourism within a short time.”
The Giresun Museum Director Hulusi Güleç said they estimated that the monastery had served since the 2nd century A.D.
“Christianity was outlawed for 200 years during the Roman era. During this period, Christian clergymen lived in remote places or in areas inside of mountains, like this monastery, to perform their religion. We initiated the project in 2006 for restorations and carried out excavations here in 2011 to understand its archaeology. After the archaeological excavations, it was put in a tender and still continues. The tender and restoration will be finished this year. The monastery has been built in four parts. The first stage is for bathroom and toilets. There is a kitchen and areas for student dining in the upper part. Classrooms and dormitories for students and clergymen are in the other part. The church is in the top part, where prayer is performed. The restoration is being completed properly for its original structure. There is also a chapel at the feet of rocks for those who cannot reach the monastery. We are set to finish the restoration and open the monastery to tourism,” Güleç said.
Talks with Bartholomeow
He said while doing the project, along with the art history consultants, they went to the Fener Greek Patriarchate and talked to Patriarch Bartholomew.
“We have held talks with him and tried to get documents about this place, but we did not receive much information. Considering its original structure, we plan to finish the restoration and use the monastery in tourism. The Virgin Mary Monastery has the same importance with the Sümela Monastery. Their architecture and geography are the same. It is a magnificent structure built in the middle of a mountain.
According to the data from the Culture and Tourism Ministry, this is the second monastery after Sümela, which was carved in a mountain. Şebinkarahisar is significant in terms of faith tourism. Not only with this monastery, but there is also a very important church. We will start the restoration on these churches within a short time.”
Güleç said they were working for the promotion of the monastery, adding, “We will promote it to the world of archaeology during symposiums. We sent travel agencies and tourism operators the brochures that we have prepared for this place. We want to show that this monastery is a very significant one, just like the Sümela Monastery.