jueves, 15 de julio de 2010

Vertical Turkey: Sümela Monastery

Browsing photos in Google Earth, I’ve discovered a strange architectural jewel in Turkey, far away of the beaten path of Istanbul. It’s called Sümela Manastir (monastery), and he looks like a kind of Jordanian Petra, or maybe, due to the dizziness caused by its verticality, to the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet.

(click to enlarge)

Some references to find it: It’s located in the NE corner of the Anatolian Peninsula, on the slopes of the Zigana Mountains in the Pontic Alps, 200 km. west of Batumi, Georgia, and 50 km. south of the legendary Trabzon (see “Empire of Trebizond”), which in turn lies in the southeastern coast of the Black Sea. You might remember that ancient greeks called it the “Ponto Euxino”, from which derives the “Pontic Alps” in which such jewel is located.

As the tale go, two hermites, Barnabus and Sophronius, encountered here an icon of a caucasian Black Madonna, from which probably might derive the name Sümela (melas = “dark” or “black” in pontic greek). Be it true or not, Sümela Monastery was constructed in this very cliff of 1200 mts. above the sea level and 300 to the valley, in the year 386 AD during the reign of the Emperor Theodosius I.

Since then, many others rulers crafted this valuable archeological site. You can find more info here and here.

Inside views

...More photos

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- Aangirfan