The Sumela Monastery (Turkish: Sümela Manastırı, Greek: Μονή Παναγίας Σουμελά, Moní Panagías Soumelá), is a Greek Orthodox monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary (Panagia, meaning "All Holy" in Greek) at Melá mountain, in the region of Maçka in the Trabzon Province of modern Turkey. Nestled in a steep cliff at an altitude of about 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) facing the Altındere valley, it is a site of great historical and cultural significance, as well as a major tourist attraction of Altındere National Park.
The monastery was founded in 386 AD during the reign of the Emperor Theodosius I (375 - 395), Legend has it that two priests undertook its creation after discovering a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary in a cave on the mountain.
During its long history, the monastery fell into ruin several times and was restored by various emperors. During the 6th century, it was restored and enlarged by General Belisarius at the behest of Justinian.
It reached its present form in the 13th century after gaining prominence during the reign of Alexios III (1349 - 1390) of the Komnenian Empire of Trebizond, established in 1204. At that time, the monastery was granted an amount annually from imperial funds. During the time of Manuel III, son of Alexius III, and during the reigns of subsequent princes, Sumela gained further wealth from imperial grants. Following the conquest by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II in 1461, it was granted the sultan's protection and given rights and privileges that were renewed by following sultans. The monastery remained a popular destination for monks and travelers through the years.
In 1682 and for a few decades, the monastery housed the Phrontisterion of Trapezous, a well-known Greek educational institution of the region.
The monastery was seized by the Russian Empire during the 1916-18 occupation of Trabzon.
The site was abandoned in 1923, following forced population exchanges between Greece and Turkey. The departing monks were not allowed to take any property with them, so they buried Sumela's famous icon under the floor of the monastery's St. Barbara chapel. In 1930, a monk secretly returned to Sumela and retrieved the icon, transferring it to the new Panagia Soumela Monastery, on the slopes of Mount Vermion, near the town of Naousa, in Macedonia, Greece.
Today the monastery's primary function is as a tourist attraction. It overlooks forests and streams, making it extremely popular for its aesthetic attraction as well as for its cultural and religious significance.
As of 2012, the Turkish government is funding restoration work, and the monastery is enjoying a revival in pilgrimage from Greece and Russia.
On 15 August 2010, Orthodox divine liturgy was allowed to take place in the monastery compound. A special pass issued by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is now required to visit on August 15, the day of the Dormition of the Theotokos or Feast of the Assumption, when a divine liturgy is held. Only 450 to 500 visitors are allowed inside the monastery, although widescreen televisions are available to observe the event at a cafe some hundred meters away from the monastery.
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Noel_Byrne (13234) 2013-09-15 5:53
Such an ancient place and such ingenuity to be able to build in a pre arms location such as this. You have taken a really beautiful capture which takes in the architecutre so well as well as the feeling of height from its location. Beautiful composition with the silver of blue sky on the right side, great shot.
All the best
arnie (995) 2013-09-15 6:14
A great composed shot, taken at a great angle to show the height of the Monastery on the mountain.
mariposa (780) 2013-09-15 13:27
Gokhan, it is my dream to go to Sumela one day. I can imagine the lighting conditions are rather difficult out there. Your capture is very well composed and thanks to the fact that there are people it is possible to get the right idea of the scale. Thanks for sharing :)
- Copyright: gokhan batir (ggb) (305)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2013-08-24
- Categories: Daily Life, Nature, Architecture
- Camera: CANON EOS 600D, Canon EF 55-250 mm f/4 - 5.6 IS
- Exposure: f/5.6, 1/1600 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Date Submitted: 2013-09-15 3:52