Iconic monastery closed for renovation once again

Iconic monastery closed for renovation once again

Iconic monastery closed for renovation once again

The Sümela Monastery, the country’s one of the most important religious tourism centers, has been closed once again due to the risk of falling rocks from the nearby hill during an ongoing renovation process.

Within the scope of the works, the body of the rock mass on the slope above the entrance will be drilled and the historical structure will be permanently fixed with 16-meter-long steel piles. 

The iconic marvel, which has been restricted for visits for the fourth time in five years due to restoration and slope improvement projects, is expected to be reopened on Jan. 31, 2022.

Ragıp Pirselimoğlu, a regional tourism expert based in Turkey’s northeastern province of Trabzon, said that closing the monastery to visitors adversely affects tourism professionals.

“The closure of the monastery without a notice deeply affected the travel agencies,” Pirselimoğlu said, suggesting that the historical place should remain open to visitors for limited time periods.

“Regional tourism has just begun to revive. We want to spend this dead season comfortably without being affected by it,” he added.

The Sümela Monastery stands carved into the steep cliffside of the mountain 300 meters above the picturesque Altındere Valley and is one of the most important tourist attractions in Trabzon.

The monastery, which has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage Tentative List since 2000, is also known as the Greek Orthodox Monastery of the Virgin Mary and is believed to have been constructed by two monks in the late fourth century.