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TRABZON – SÜMELA MONASTERY

This Greek Orthodox monastery was constructed within a cavern in the middle of a steep slope above dense forests, and lies 45km south of Trabzon. This was the most important of many monasteries built in the area during the Byzantine era and the best preserved, even after it was abandoned in 1923 when the Turkish Republic was created. Several years later one of the monks discovered treasures - including the famous icon said to have been painted by St Luke and responsible for several miracles. Recent restorations have enhanced the quality of the different chapels,
some of which contain frescoes dating back to the 9th century.
Its setting is within Altindere national park, with thick forests,
streams and trout farms, making it a popular excursion
especially for locals at weekends. There are private bus
tours from Trabzon, and it is also possible by minibus
or shared taxi.

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