Turkey’s 4th-century Sümela Monastery reopens doors

Turkey’s historic Greek Orthodox Sümela Monastery in the Black Sea province of Trabzon reopened its doors on Tuesday, Sözcü newspaper reported.

The 4th-century structure, which clings to a cliff high above evergreen forests in the district of Maçka, has been under restoration work for four years, Sözcü said.

A group of industrial mountaineers continue netting steel wire around the rocks upholding the structure, which has been reopened with limited access as Turkey eases month-long prevention measures against the coronavirus pandemic. 

The reopening of the structure, located at an altitude of 300-metres and known as the Virgin Mary Monastery by the locals, was delayed by a month due to setbacks caused by Turkey’s COVID-19 outbreak.

Trabzon Governor İsmail Ustaoğlu stressed the importance of maintaining social distancing and wearing protective gear while visiting the monastery.

Ustaoğlu said work would continue until the end of the year and secure the rocks with steel nets.