Historic rock-carved Virgin Mary Monastery awaits tourists in Giresun
GİRESUN-Anadolu AgencyAfter Sümela, Turkey’s second largest monastery built out of a mountain, the Virgin Mary Monastery in the Black Sea province of Giresun is awaiting local and foreign tourists.
The monastery, which is situated on a hill in the Kayadibi village of Giresun’s Şebinkarahisar district, was used by Orthodox Greeks in the past until the 1940s. It is a four-storey and 32-room monastery and can be reached through a 20-minute walk from Kayadibi’s center.
The monastery is estimated to have served since the 2nd century A.D.
Giresun Culture and Tourism Director Kemal Gürgenci said the structure was of great importance in terms of faith tourism.
Saying that the monastery took its final shape in the 19th century and was commonly used by Orthodox Greeks who lived in the neighboring regions to perform religious ceremonies, he added that restoration works at the site was completed in 2013.
“This monastery is located on a route which connects Turkey’s Central Anatolia with the Black Sea region. Tourists who travel through this route can easily visit this beautiful structure, which is just 11 kilometers away from the highway,” Gürgenci said.
Assist. Prof. Gazanfer İltar, an academic from the Art History Department of Celal Bayar University, said the monastery is a four-storey building.
“There is a garden in the first storey, where a holy fountain, a cistern and tombs are located,” he said.
The other sections are built in the mountain, he noted, adding that the first floor included a hall, a kitchen, a dining room and a stove.
There are monk sections and a wide terrace on the second floor.
“The church is on the top part, where prayers are performed. The whole structure is on a 27,500 square-meter area,” he added.
The Sümela Monastery in Trabzon’s Maçka district was closed for restoration and officials expect it will create an opportunity for the Virgin Mary Monastery to draw tourists.