Saturday, 31 July 2010

Sümela Monastery, Turkey

One more official for today... This one comes from Turkey.


Why are so many monasteries located in such strange places? I'm guessing the inaccessible/hard to reach locations are intentional, though...?!

The Sümela Monastery stands at the foot of a steep cliff facing the Altındere valley in the region of Maçka in Trabzon Province, modern Turkey. Lying at an altitude of approximately 1200 metres, it is a major tourist attraction of Altındere National Park. Founded in the year 386 AD during the reign of the Emperor Theodosius I (375 - 395), legend has it that two priests undertook the founding of the monastery on the site after having discovered a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary in a cave on the mountain.

During its long history, the monastery fell into ruin several times and was restored by various Emperors. Today the monastery's primary function is as a tourist attraction. Its place overlooking the forests and streams below, make it extremely popular for its aesthetic attraction as well as for its cultural and religious significance. Currently restoration works funded by the Turkish government are taking place.

The stamps are from a set of 10 stamps issued in 2009, depicting Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

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