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Sumela Monastery – Trabzon - Carsibasi

Trip Details

Road Trip 2008 I
Date: Thu, 21/08/2008
Distance: 111 km
Motorcyclists: Manolis, Ploumisti
Photographers: Manolis, Ploumisti
Authors: Manolis
Translators: Sakis
Map: Trip map

Sightseeing map

The first thing that I do when I opened my eyes was to see the sky… once again clouded. At least it did not rain. The hour was still 7.30am. I sat in the hot layers of the bed, reminding winter moments…

By the next room was heard noise. The young boys had woken up. At 8.30am, we also raised. We gathered our things and went down for breakfast. It was not something particular, apart from the omelette that was fried in butter and no oil… reminding my cooking choices of my grand mother!

I did not see the hour to begin. Even if the previous day it rained, the landscape had impressed me! The narrow, helical street, led through a dense all around green forest to the national park that it entertained in the monastery. An impetuous stream kept to us company in our course. As soon as we reached in the entry of the National Park Altindere (price of ticket: 4YTL/per bike), we decided to continue with one motorcycle.

At that hour presented the “noisy” company of Turkish easy riders! Formal in the appearance and in the behavior. Immediately they approached us and they greeted us. When we told them that we were Greeks, all joy they reported to us that they had a very good Greek motorcyclist, Pantelis from Piraeus. All together we began for the point where it begins the path for the monastery.

The access in the monastery is feasible with 2 ways: (a) “on foot”, from an abrupt but comfortable path that begins from the point that is found the restaurants and the hostel, (b) “with vehicle”, from the point of quartering that is found 3km. afterwards the restaurants. The space of quartering abstains roughly 200m. from the entry of Abbey.

We selected the 2nd choice. Via one astonishing way. The abbey of Virgin Maria of Soymela is found impressively scrambled up in an abrupt, vertical rock, in an all around green landscape, constituted from firs. In the base of the ravine that the rocks shape, flows an impetuous stream. The fog that unfolded in the region created a mysterious atmosphere, electing the magic of the landscape. The unique negative point was that they were a lot of tourists.

After we were refreshed with clean water of the source (“cesme” in Turkish), we visited the monastery (price of ticket: 8YTL/per person). In our days it does not entertain monks. It is realised work for reconstruction and maintenance. Substantially, the buildings are built from the start maintaining the traditional architecture.
However, the most impressive, were the murals (externally or internally) that it adorned the church. Those of exterior walls had suffered deteriorations, as much from natural, as - mainly - human factors. Engraved dedications and names have destroyed the unique work of art, mainly what was found in a low height. The situation caused me sadness…

In the interior the situation was somehow better. The presence of – henceforth – a guardian possibly it contributes in their precaution. The hagiographies did not present the formal Byzantine - familiar in us - style. It looked like more human. The signs were all written in the Greek, as many of the certain engraved dedications of some brainless! It deserves, it is reported that existed a lot of layers of hagiographies.

Precisely beside from the church was found a stone manufacture with the plate “Ayiasma” (=holy water). From the rock fell drops leading to a hole full of coins!

We left the monastery moved to Macka and Trabzon that it abstained about 45-50km. The traffic in the city was relatively low. Its characteristic was the abundance of small white small vans (= dolmus). It constituted the most famous way of locomotion of the local. You didn’t see many taxis … only dolmus, crowded, stacked as sardines!

Comfortably we reached in Ataturk Alani, the most central square of the city that constitutes the point of report of local and foreigners. Who other the statue of the square portray? Naturally Ataturk Kemal! In near distance was also found the Tourist Office, with a helpful employee that gave us useful information and a map of the city. We parked the motorcycles outside from the office and began our roaming.

Selectively – because of the lack of time, we visited the following sights:
New & Old Bargain: A very live market in which you distinguish the Eastern and western element. As much the persons, as the goods. A combination oriental “souks” and Athenian Greek market of Ermou.
Old walls of the city: An enough big department of the city is surrounded by tally wall. Proportionally from the point that we were found we could enjoy its astonishing view (etc. after the western gate).

National Museum of Trabzon: It was a building that was intended for a Russian tradesman. It led however to be home of Ataturk Kemal, as “donation”. It was more concretely entertained - in this - in one of the three visits that he realised in the city. The architecture but mainly the internal decoration is impressive. Beyond ethnic - folklore museum allocated also an archaeological department. There were entertained the cupreous statue of Ermis and heirlooms emanating from the Abbey Soumela.

Hill and region Boztepe: It constituted the point with the better view that was found in a hill. It allocated crowd of cafeterias and restaurants. It would be better not to visit it at afternoon hours, while the sun does not help for photographs.

Museum - church Ayasofia: It was one of the most famous sights of the city. It was a building that at the passage of the centuries had been used as temple, church, pane, hospital, hangout of seamen, museum… All those that used it with the one or other way have left their mark. The point offered a marvellous view of the Black Sea…

Ataturk Kosko (Villa of Ataturk Kemal): The house that was given as donation in Ataturk belonged – initially - in a Native of the Pont banker that “it granted” in the Turkish state in 1923. Ataturk remained there in one from his visits in the city. Its interior was not impressive, as surrounding space and the view that it offered.

About 7pm., we left moving westwards with driver the plates on Samsum, Gorele, Akcaabat. Trabzon is an evolving - but simultaneously - arranged city that anybody can move with comfort. The neurologic importance of its place brings it in the epicentre of interest of tourists but also tradesmen. Something that had become perceptible from ancient already years.

At 8pm. we led to a beach with supposed camping (15km. from Trabzon), in Carsibasi. After enough days we slept in altitude under the 1000 meters!!! This time, the waves of the Black Sea helped us to sleep.