|Sumela Monastery & Country House
Port: Trabzon, Turkey
6 - 6.5 Hours
This tour involves extensive walking with uphill steps at the monastery. To enter the mosque, shoes
must be removed and proper dress is required (no shorts or sleeveless tops). The main highlight
of this tour is a visit to the spectacular Sumela Monastery.
Officially known in Turkish as the Meryem Ana Manastiri, derived from the Greek Hagia Maria
tou Mela (St. Maria of Mount Mela), the monastery looks as if it has been taken from heaven and
pasted on the side of a mountain. No one has yet been able to answer the question of how man
built such a huge monastery on the side of a mountain with the technology of the 6th century.
From the bottom, the monastery looks as if it would be impossible to reach without divine guidance
while from the top you may have an opportunity for some of the most gorgeous views anywhere.
With eerie mists and forested background, Sumela is a truly magical sight. 14th-century additions
gave it its final look, and today this ethereal structure is one of the most significant tourist attractions
in all of Turkey.
You’ll have plenty of time to explore Sumela, with lunch in the area, after which the tour continues
to the country house of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Turkish Republic. Walk in the footsteps
of this remarkable man, and appreciate the views of Trabzon from above. He once gazed across
the landscape, staying up late, drinking raki, conversing with companions, and relaxing from the
rigors of building a modern Turkish state.
From Ataturk’s house you will visit St. Sophia Museum, which was a church built by the Commenos
family in the 13th century, expanded by Emperor Manuel Paleologos VII in the same century, and then
converted into a mosque in the 16th century. After exploring it, you will understand its historical
importance in Trabzon and its conversion into a museum in 1957. Notice that some beautiful but
faint frescoes are still visible inside this remarkable building.
|Ortahisar Buyuk Fatih Mosque
From St. Sophia, continue to Ortahisar Buyuk Fatih Mosque, or “The
At the end of the day you will return to the pier in order to rejoin the ship
Golden Headed Mary Church”, located in the Ortahisar district. This ancient Byzantine Church contains
some of the most stunning examples of Ottoman ornamentation art. It is strange that the church’s
reputation is Ottoman, as its character is positively Byzantine, having been built in the 10th century,
renovated in the following three centuries and used for the crown ceremonies of Byzantine Emperors
until the 15th century. However, in 1461 it was converted into a mosque after the Ottomans conquered
the city of Trabzon, and so it stands today.