New Photos – Sumela Monastery

Turkey is a Muslim country, but interestingly enough, just outside of Trabzon, you can find the remarkable Sumela Monastery. The structure, built literally into the side of a cliff was home to monks for several hundred years. It was later abandoned and left to the mercy of the public who as you can probably guess managed to vandalize this historical place. The Monastery is now once again gaining in popularity but the recently instituted entrance fee is going to repair and restore the monastery from years of abuse. It was definitely worth the trip on our way out of town.

The road to Sumela Monastery winds through the mountains outside of TrabzonI never new that it snowed in Turkey, but they actually have a ski resort near TrabzonThe road got really windy and steep near the monasteryYou can choose to take the stairs up to the monasteryThis is definitely a good place to get some meditating doneWhat looks like one huge building from below suddenly becomes a small village once you reach the topThe only way to bring goods and supplies up to the monastery is to hike them up or use the winchUnfortunately, most of the entrance fee goes towards hiring a security guard to keep people from vandalizing the placeMany of the structures within the monastery complex have detailed religious paintings both inside and outA lot of ingenuity and craftsmanship went into making this place stick to the wall of a cliffView of the valley floor through one of the monastery windowsRestoration work is in progress in some sections of the monasteryUnfortunately, time, but mostly vandals, has destroyed much of the artworkSome pretty serious stonework went into constructing the monasteryThe monastery is one of the few Catholic structures in a predominantly Muslim countryThe artwork dates back several hundred yearsAnd to keep people like us from using flash photography near the wall paintings!The artwork stretches all the way to the rock face Restoration work is in progress in some sections of the monasteryIt must have taken some dedicated monks to lug stones weighing thousands of pounds up the side of a cliffOne last view of the monastery from the forest belowEither way you chose to get to Sumela Monastery, it is an amazing sightYou definitely would not have to worry about people bothering you at this locationHow anyone decided that this was a good place to build a monastery is beyond meThe monastery is literally built into the side of a sheer cliffOr you can drive part half way up the slippery, icy road