Duration: 6 hours
After arriving the Port of Trabzon, your guide will be waiting to pick you up and lead you to your own luxury vehicle, in which you can relax and enjoy the peaceful drive to Sumela Monastery. Sumela Monastery is a Greek Orthodox monastery dedicated to Virgin Mary which was built between 75AD and 95AD and founded in 386AD during reign of the Emperor Theodosius I. The locals would tell you that two priests undertook its creation after discovering a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary in a cave on the mountain. The monastry stood a long history and fell into ruins several times. Various emperors have restored it. During the 6th century, General Belisarius has retored and enlarged it at the behest of Justinian. After the visit of Sumela Monastery, we will head to St Sophia Museum which is a Chalcedonian (Greek Orthodox) church located in the city of Trabzon in the north-eastern part of Turkey. The church has dated back to the thirteenth century when Trabzon was once the capital of the Empire of Trebizond.
Pagan monasteries were located very close to the peaks of mountains, the ancient believed that only this location was closest to the heavens where the gods and goddesses were supposed to have lived. Sumela monastery is located at 1,200 metres above sea level and resting precariously on a rocky ledge 300 metres above a rockbound torrent.
Enjoy a nice drive through the Altindere National Park and be enchanted by the natural beauty of scenery of sheer rock cliffs rising from the midst of evergreen forest. Surely you will believe that this is very close to heaven. Standing in the heart of this breath taking landscape, is the 14th century Sumela Monastery of the Virgin Mary, rising on a rock high above the utterly stunning Sumela Valley. Bare in mind though that the minibuses are only used for the approach along a track that ascends 250 metres in its 2-kilometre length. So be prepared to walk the last part of the journey. Walking to the top where Sumela Monastery stands is a very rewarding journey as the walk itself is delightful and the destination will make you feel as if you have just found an outstanding jewel surrounded by natural beauty.
The church was initially constructed in the 4th century as a small church. At the beginning it was partially hewn out of rock with the other part being a cave. In the 11th century it was expanded into a monastery with 72 rooms. The Ottoman princes who were officially regional governors of Trabzon, contributed to its upkeep providing material and moral support. Study closely its interior and exterior covered with bright frescoes, one of which commemorates the coronation of Alexis II in 1340. You may see that some of them have cracked revealing older frescoes underneath, which after centuries are still in magnificent condition. Never miss the opportunity to visit a pool of holy water close to the church, whose source is an overhanging rock. Nowadays visitors who come here are delightfully drink it as it is believed to have the healing power. In the past people used to bath in it.
All these destinations are just like the jewels of Turkey and you will be truly satisfied after the end of the trip. After all these wonderful visits, you will turn back to port of Trabzon.