Virgin Mary Monastery welcomes visitors
Located on a route connecting the Black Sea to Central Anatolia, the rock-cut Virgin Mary Monastery is now hosting guests amid the start of the summer season.
The historical monastery, built in a natural cave on a rocky hill in Kayadibi village in the Black Sea province of Giresun’s Şebinkarahisar district, can be reached after a 15-minute walk.
Due to snows and rainfalls, transportation to the monastery becomes harder. But in the summers interest grows at a rapid pace among those who want to see the historical spot.
The monastery is nearly one hour away from the Black Sea tablelands and provides alternative tourism opportunities to nature tourism.
Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, Provincial Culture and Tourism Director Kemal Gürgenci said the Virgin Mary Monastery was made up of four stages carved from a single rock, adding that it was an important cultural heritage from the Byzantine era.
He said there were some units, like a fountain, cistern and tomb in front of the cave in the first stage of the monastery.
“The other three stages include social areas. The reception room, kitchen and the cooker is in the first stage. There are the monk chambers and a big terrace in the second stage and the church of the monastery in the third stage,” Gürgenci said.
He said the monastery was restored between 2012 and 2014.
“The Virgin Mary Monastery has become an important place in terms of culture tourism. It is one of the popular places for tourists who are into culture. There is also a capacity of faith tourism with the increasing number of visitors recently,” he added.
Gürgenci said the monastery was very close to the Giresun-Sivas highway.
“Some of the tour operators that use this route organized tours to the monastery this year. The monastery is 12 kilometers away from the district center. Those who use the Central Anatolia and Black Sea route have the chance to see this structure. This place will have a significant visitor capacity in the next five years,” he said.
He said the monastery could be reached by foot on a pathway.
“You will get tired when you reach the monastery but you will see the natural beauty of this cultural structure. There is a striking valley there. This is a natural view terrace. We believe that visitors will come to the monastery to see this view only.”