Many visitors come to Maçka, Trabzon every year. Not only from Turkey… Thousands of people who long for years to smell its soil, to taste its water, and to breathe its air come to Sumela Monastery.
Sumela Monastery, which is an old Greek Orthodox monastery and church complex, is located within the borders of Trabzon’s Maçka vicinity, on the west hills of the Altındere Valley in Karadağ at a 1.150 m attitude.
You experience a different atmosphere in lush nature at Maçka.
You can visit it any day of the year but August 15 is a special day for the Orthodox because that day is accepted as “the day that Holy Mary had risen in the sky.” Special rituals take place on that day at the monastery.
It has been estimated that the place had been built between 365-395 AC. According to a legend, two priests named Athenian Barnabas and Sophronios see the same dream; they both see Sumela as the location of one of the three Panagia icons in their dream, the one that ‘the Virgin Mary is holding Jesus in her arms’. One of the disciples of Jesus, St. Luke, had made the icons. Following the dream, they both come to Trabzon by sea. They run into each other somehow and they tell each other about the dream that they saw. Then together they lay the foundation of the first church of the monastery.
The status of the monastery that was taken on the task of acting as an outpost in the defense of the city during Turkmenian invasions in the 14th century was unchanged after the Ottoman conquest.
This region has been a place where people live, breathe, come to life, suffer, and become exiled for centuries. You can smell the scent of this quite different air in the middle of Trabzon’s lush greenery. Moreover, if you look carefully, you can see the trees, hazelnut branches, and the lawn that young children played around or the places that men and women strolled around, and the creek where they fell in love with each other a century ago.