Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sümela Monastery, Turkey

For those who had ventured to the eastern part of Turkey, or specifically, for those who found themselves in Trabzon on the Black Sea coast of northeastern Turkey, Sümela Monastery is simply one of the must-visit attractions there!

Also known as The Monastery of Virgin Mary, it was a Greek Orthodox monastery built into the face of a steep cliff. Founded by 2 hermit priests who discovered a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary in a cave in the mountain, the monastery had gone through various restorations in its long history. However, in recent times, it looks like the monastery could do with some preservation, especially the amazing frescoes found in the monastery!!

Indeed, the frescoes on the walls and ceilings of the various buildings in the monastery are one of the best I've seen! Unfortunately, poor protection of the site had resulted in most of the frescoes being damaged by wandering shepherds and ignorant tourists. However, there are reports that in 2012, the Turkish government would be funding some restoration works, and it would bode well for the local tourism.  Sümela Monastery is currently in the tentative list of UNESCO sites for Turkey.

There are many agencies and hotels in Trabzon arranging day tours to the monastery, which is basically just shared van transport to the monastery. You can, of course, pay for private tours and guides. You'll be deposited near the entrance of the monastery, and after approximately 1.5 hrs, you can take a short walk down a path back to the carpark where the van would bring you back to Trabzon.

Hopefully, the restoration works would enable the site to revert back to its full glory!! Check it out once you have the chance!


Herbert Wong said...

Nice one. Esp like the last photo with the lady giving perspective to the paintings.

Wanderer said...

Hi Herbert!
Hope u r doing well!!
Yes, I like that photo as well, thats why put it last! ;)