Sumela (Virgin Mary) Monastery was built on a large cave in steep slopes, 300 meter high from Altindere Valley and 27km south of Maçka district of Trabzon Turkey. Sumela Monastery is called “Virgin Mary” among the people.
Monastery was built in its current location by Alexios III (1349 – 1390) from Trabzon Kommenos in 1360. When Manuel III (1390 -1417), son of Alexios III, acceded a piece that is believed to belong to Jesus crucifixion is gifted to Sumela Monastery.
Sultan Mehmet the conqueror taken over Trobzon Turkey in 1461 and commanded and edict indicating to project the rights of the Sumela Monastery. Sultan Selim the Excellent gifted two candlesticks to the monastery.
Sumela Monastery which has a magnificent appearence as a castle is reached by a steep and narrow stairway after climbing a path. It is possible to reach nearby vehicles after constructing a road in recent years. Sumela Monastery is a large complex with 6 floors including two terraces, and 72 rooms. A 120 meters long aqueduct leaning on the hillside near the stairway provided the water need of the Sumela Monastery.
There were guard rooms near the entrance door, and inner courtyard was entered by a stairway from here. The cave converted into a church is on the right. Inner and outher walls of the church and chapel next to it are decorated with frescoes.
Magnificent Sumela Monastery covering the front of the cave were used as guest rooms and they are dated to 1860. Sumela Monastery was taken under protection adn opened to visitors since 1972.