“The Monastery perched on the side of the cliff”.
Where is Soumela Monastery?
Soumela Monastery lies on the side of Melá Mountain. Within the Pontic Mountain range located within Altındere National Park in the Maçka district of Trabzon Province in Turkey.
Our journey from Goreme to Soumela was by buses and minibuses.
We chose to stay at an apartment adjacent to the Voice Hotel just outside the town of Macka, about 30 mins from Soumela Monastery.
Places of interest
From our accommodation, it was about a 30 min drive from the Monastery. The roads are good and well signposted. The scenery is very beautiful.
On arrival, the Monastery car park is at the bottom of a 3 km steep road. Cars are not permitted up to the Monastery. From here either walk 1.2km via a steep footpath. Or take one of the minibuses provided that ferry people up and down. The fare is 5 Turkish Lira return per person.
Entry to the Monastery is 10 Turkish Lira per person.
There are a further 300m of steps to reach the Monastery from where the minibuses drop off.
The first sight of Soumela Monastery is incredible. Latched onto the side of a 1150m cliff, as if held there with glue. The ancient building is a remarkable feat of engineering.
Closed in 2015 owing to rock falls, then later extended to three years. Reopening to tourists took place in May 2019 however, restoration is still undergoing and the majority of the Monastery is still closed.
As you start the final trek up to the Monastery. Take the pathway on the right at the end of the cafe and shops. This leads to a small church and a viewing area. From here there is an exceptional view of the Monastery.
The area in front of the Monastery entrance has largely been restored. An arched aqueduct on the side of the cliff is at the bottom of the long and narrow staircase up to the entrance. Inside there is a guardroom. Along a narrow covered walkway leads to stairs down to the inner courtyard. This is as far as the public can go, as of October 2019, the date of our visit.