Panagia Soumela – The Holy Monastery complex of Pontus in Maçka

Greek Orthodox monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary within the Pontic Mountains. Nestled in a steep cliff at an altitude of about 1,200 meters facing the Altındere valley, it is a site of great historical and cultural significance, as well as a major tourist attraction within Altındere National Park.

The monastery was founded in AD 386 during the reign of the Emperor Theodosius I. According to William Miller, Barnabas and Sophronios, two Athenian monks, founded the monastery. During its long history, the monastery fell into ruin several times and was restored by various emperors. During the 6th century, it was restored and enlarged by General Belisarius at the behest of Justinian.

It reached its present form in the 13th century after gaining prominence during the existence of the Empire of Trebizond. The Monastery is one of the most important historic and touristic venues in Trabzon.

The monastery is on a ledge in a steep cliff / Image source

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