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Photographer's Note

The principal elements of the Monastery complex are the Rock Church, several chapels, kitchens, student rooms, a guesthouse, library and sacred spring revered by Orthodox Greeks. These were built over a very large area.

The large aqueduct at the entrance, which clearly supplied water to the Monastery, is constructed against the side of the cliff. The aqueduct has many arches which have mostly been restored to date.

The entrance to the Monastery leads up by a long and narrow stairway. There is a guard-room next to the entrance. The stairs lead from there to the inner courtyard. On the left, in front of a cave, there are several monastery buildings. The cave, which was converted into a church, constitutes the centre of the Monastery. The library is to the right.

The large building with a balcony on the front part of the cliff was used for the monks' cells and as guesthouse. It dates to 1860.

The influence of Turkish art can be observed in the design of the cupboards, niches and fire-place in the rooms of the buildings surrounding the courtyard.

The inner and outer walls of the Rock Church and the walls of the adjacent chapel are decorated with frescoes. The frescoes of the time of Alexios III can be seen on the inner wall of the Rock Church facing the courtyard. The frescoes of the chapel which were painted on three levels in three different periods are dated to the beginning of the 18th century. The frescoes of the bottom band are of superior quality.

The frescoes of the Sümela Monastery are seriously damaged, having largely been moved from their original settings. The main subject of the frescoes are biblical scenes telling the story of Christ and the Virgin Mary.

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