Sumela Monastery, one of the most important temples of the Orthodox Christian world, is a unique place with its harmony of nature and location. 1150 meters over the sea and 300 meters over the valley, this Rum Orthodox monastery and church complex is in UNESCO’s “World Heritage Temporary List”.
Legend says, the monastery was founded by two priests Barnabas and Sophranios who came from Athens during the time of Byzantine Empire Theodosius (375 – 395) and the place served as a school for educating monks. It is assumed as a holy place for it protects an iconoclast that is said to make miracles come true.
When the east Black Sea shores are conquered by the Ottoman Empire, Sumela’s rights were protected. Mehmed the Conqueror writes an edict to keep the monastery unharmed.
In 18th century, most of the place was renewed and ornamented with frescos. In 19th century, big buildings were added and the place reached its prime but it was emptied after 1923. After Greece President Eleftherios Venezelos had a contact with Turkey president Ismet İnonu in 1931 and the iconoclast and the holy stuff were taken to the Benaki Museum in Athens.
During the four year old restoration that started in September 2015, frescos with the concepts of “Heaven and Hell”, “Death and Life” were found on a way to reach a hidden chapel. Besides that, the “Ordeal Chamber” and the border watch station “the Watch Chapel” were revealed.
After the restoration, the monastery was opened again in 2019.