Sumela Monastery

Altındere Mahallesi, Altındere Vadisi, 61750 Maçka/Trabzon, Turkey

This 4th-century Greek Orthodox monastery clings to a cliff face 1,200 meters above the Altındere Valley National Park. With its admired Rock Church, complete with biblical frescoes inside and out, this rock-hewn historical site is like no other in the country. Visitors should be aware that the 300-meter walk to the entrance is no easy feat: A path of gnarled undergrowth leading to steps may challenge those with limited mobility. While the monastery is closed for renovations until 2017, its exterior is still impressive.

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