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The Greek Orthodox Monastery of the Virgin Mary, better known as Sumela Monastery it’s about 50km south of Trabzon, is one of the historical highlights on the Black Sea coast of Turkey. Sumela Monastery was founded in the 386AD. If you are planning a trip to Turkey, be sure to check out this great guide about 22 Things to Know Before You Travel to Turkey.
Sumela Monastery was abandoned in 1923, following forced population exchanges between Greece and Turkey.
The departing monks were not allowed to take anything with them, so they buried Sumela’s famous icon under the floor of the monastery’s St. Barbara chapel.
This famous icon got moved to Greece later when a monk secretly returned to Sumela and retrieved the icon, and bought it back to the new monastery they have built, on the slopes of Mount Vermion, near the town of Naousa in northern Greece.
So you should visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the hordes of Turkish Tourists, the Monastery is pretty small inside so it can get very crowded when the groups are around.
Additional Information about Sumela Monastery.
There’s no public transportation to Sumela Monastery, so the only way to reach the Monastery is with your own transportation or doing a tour from the nearby city of Trabzon.
The price of doing a tour from Trabzon is around 50TL (around 17USD), but you should check a few travel agencies in Trabzon, some include the 15TL entrance fee in the 50TL tour, others don´t.
The main trail to the monastery begins right with the parking lot, cross the footbridge past the restaurant, the path is easy to follow, but it’s pretty steep and it takes about 30min to climb to the entrance of Sumela Monastery.
The Monastery is located 300m above the parking area, and it gets a lot colder up there.
The Entrance Ticket is 15TL
Where to Sleep.
There’s no accommodation around Sumela Monastery so you the only option is to stay in the city of Trabzon.
Adelante Hostel, dorms 15USD, free wi-fi.
It’s the only hostel in Trabzon, located close to the main square in a quiet location, with a great rooftop.