The Sumela Monastery in northern Turkey has attracted more interest and attention after a religious ceremony that took place in August.
The Sumela Monastery in Trabzon's Macka town was opened to one-day religious ceremony of Orthodox community on August 15, 2010, for the first time in 88 years. Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew conducted the mass, marking the Assumption of Mother Mary, a sacred day for Christians. 500 Orthodox Christians from Russia, Greece, Georgia and the United States attended.
The number of Turkish and foreign tourists visiting the monastery was up 73 percent year-on-year in 2010, and reached 395,981.
Around 208,086 people visited the monastery in 2009.
Sumela is 1,600-year-old ancient Orthodox monastery located at a 1,200 meters height on the steep cliff at Macka region of Trabzon.
The monastery is constructed on rocks reached by a path through the forest. The beautiful frescoes dating from the 18th century on the walls of the monastery are biblical scenes of Christ and Virgin Mary.
The site was abandoned in 1923 and became a museum and a popular tourist attraction because of its breath-taking location, structure and scenery.
On 15 August 2010, with the permission of Turkish Government, an Orthodox mass was held for the first time at Sumela Monastery since 1923.