soumela monastery

soumela monastery

One of the Black Sea Coast's most famous attractions is Sumela Monastery (official name: Monastery of the Virgin Mary), which seems to sprout out of the sheer cliff face enclosing it. This atmospheric place has a history that goes back to the Byzantine era, and it was only finally closed as a working monastery in 1923. There are fabulously vibrant (though sadly defaced) frescoes within the main chapel, and the warren of rooms and chapels that make up the rest of the complex give you a good idea of the austerity of religious life in previous centuries. Possibly the biggest highlight of a visit here, though, are the views of the entire monastery, clinging to the rock face, on the winding road up to the entrance.

 

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