Turkey's Sumela Monastery to open next season

By Tugba Yardimci

TRABZON, Turkey (AA) – Turkey expects to open the Sumela Monastery in Black Sea province of Trabzon after restoration works end soon, Culture and Tourism Minister said Monday.

Mehmet Ersoy told Anadolu Agency the aim is to open the monastery by next season.

Located in the Macka district of Trabzon, the Sumela Monastery is a site of historical and cultural significance as well as a major tourist attraction. It was included in UNESCO's temporary list of World Heritage sites.

Built on a steep cliff at 1,200 meters in Altindere National Park, the Sumela Monastery reopened for religious use on Aug. 15, 2010 with the permission of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, following an 88-year hiatus.

During his visit, Ersoy said renovation will be completed after interior works are done.

The minister said visitors will be able to reach the monastery's main entrance in a month.

"The workers are doing a final retouch and the first phase of the restoration will almost end. Our aim in the second phase is to finish these works before the next season but this region is a very risky one. Because heavy rains are making [restoration] works difficult," Ersoy said and added that the monastery will be completely functional by the next season after the renovation works this winter.

The restoration and environmental planning of the Sumela Monastery, also known as the Virgin Mary, were launched in February 2016.