The Story of the Sümela Monastery with Its Unique Historical Structure

The Story of the Sümela Monastery with Its Unique Historical Structure
Sumela Monastery, the buried treasure of Trabzon, one of the cities with the most beautiful nature of Turkey, is located on a steep rocky slope in the Altindere valley of Montenegro, located in the Altindere Village of the Maçka District of Trabzon. Sumela, also known as the Virgin Mary among the people, which was selected by Unesco for the provisional list of World heritage sites, restoration works have been started in order to preserve its place on the World heritage list. Dec.

The work, founded in the name of the Virgin Mary, located about 300 meters above the Altindere valley, it is believed that Sumela got its name from the word “Melas”, which means “Black”, and the word “Melas” also got from the Montenegrins, which are dark in color, where the monastery is located.

History and History of the Sumela Monastery
According to the rumor, the church M.S. it is known that it was founded between 365-395 Dec. There is not much about the thousand-year period between the construction of the church and its Decency into a monastery. According to the legend spoken among the Greeks of the Black Sea, the Byzantine emperor I Dec.In the time of Theodosius, two priests named Barnabas and Sophronios from Athens had a similar dream; in their dreams, they saw that in the current place of Sumela there was an icon of Mary holding the baby Jesus in her arms from the three Panagia icons made by Saint Luke, one of Jesus' disciples.

After the dream, they came to Trabzon by sea transportation unbeknownst to each other and when they met, they told each other their dreams and laid the first foundation of the church. in the 6th century, it was repaired by Belisarios, one of his generals, upon the request of Emperor Justinian to expand the monastery.

III of the Principality of the Komnenos of Trabzon, who is believed to be the real founder of the monastery founded in 1204. During the reign of Alexios (1349-1390), interest in the monastery increased and its income was provided by edicts. III. The son of Alexios III. Manuel and the later princes enriched Sumela with various edicts during their own periods.

14. there has been no change in the condition of the monastery, which served as an outpost in the defense of the city against Turkmen raids in the century after the Ottoman conquest. It is known that Yavuz Sultan Selim sent two large candlesticks to the monastery as a gift during his reign in Trabzon. Fatih Sultan Mehmed, II. Murat, I. Selim, II. Selim, III. Murad, Ibrahim, IV. Mehmed, II. Solomon and III. It is known that Ahmed also protected Sumela's rights and had edicts about the monastery.

During the Ottoman period, the privileges shown to the monastery formed an area surrounded by Christian and hidden Christian villages, especially in Maçka and north Gümüşhane during the Islamization of Trabzon and Gümüşhane.

18. many parts of the Sumela Monastery were renovated in the XVIII century, some of its walls were decorated with frescoes. 19. with the construction of large buildings in the XIII century, the monastery acquired a magnificent appearance and experienced its richest, brightest period. February Dec April 18, 1916 - February 24, 1918 During the Russian occupation of Trabzon, the monastery was confiscated by the Greek militia, who wanted to establish an independent Pontic state, like the monasteries located around Maçka.

After the population exchange and the Christians living in that part were sent to Greece, they lost their importance and T.C. It has been left to its fate until it is repaired by the Ministry of Culture.

The Greeks from the Black Sea who migrated to Greece with the struggle built a new church in the city of Veria, which they named Sumela. The new monastery they have built, there are festivals with high participation around the monastery, such as the previous festivals they held in August every year in Sumela, Trabzon.

August 15, which is accepted by Christians as the ascension day of the Virgin Mary by the permission of the Government of the Republic of Turkey in 2010 and is considered sacred, was the first mass held after 88 years, and the mass was performed by Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Istanbul I. The ceremony was held on Dec. Bartholomew directed it.

The Curious Interior of Sumela is Frescoed
The interiors of the Sümela Monastery are built on a large area as a bedrock church, several chapels, a kitchen, student rooms, a guest house and a library. At the entrance of the monastery there is an aqueduct with many eyes, which was known to bring water leaning against the slope, but today most of it has been destroyed. 

The main entrance of the monastery is reached by a long and narrow staircase that provides access to the monastery. The guard rooms are located right next to the entrance door. After the entrance, a staircase leads down to the inner courtyard. On the left side, in front of the cave, there are various monastery buildings that constitute the basis of the monastery. There is a library on the right side. Again, the part with a large balcony that wraps around the front side of the slope on the right was used as guest rooms and monk rooms.

The effects of Turkish art are seen in the buildings around the courtyard, in the cabinets in the rooms, in the cells and in the January stoves. Scenes taken from the Bible in the frescoes taken from some sections to examine in the Sümela Monastery, which have been destroyed quite a lot, are the scenes of Prophet Muhammad. They are the main topics related to the life of Jesus and the Virgin Mary.

How to Get to Sumela Monastery?
The next stop will be to go to Maçka district of Trabzon with the vehicle you bought from the Trabzon Car Rental company for the Sumela Monastery tour. When you come to Maçka, you will reach the Monastery by following the signs of Sümela Monastery, which is a heritage for us. After reaching the monastery, you will have reached the Sumela Monastery, which is a buried treasure, when you reach the end of the 100 stairs that start at the end of a 300-meter path to Sumela, after parking your car that you bought from the car rental company in the parking spaces located at the bottom of the monastery.

But for those who cannot get out of this road today, as an alternative, dolmus flights have also been provided to get out to Sumela after parking your own car. It is closed to private vehicle access except for authorized minibuses.
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