Sümela Monastery hosts 45,000 visitors in 16 days
The Sümela Monastery, located in the Maçka district of the Black Sea province of Trabzon, has been visited by around 45,000 local and international tourists since being reopened to worship on July 28, local officials have said.
Around 2,800 daily visitors on an average over a period of 16 days made the monastery, which is on UNESCO's World Heritage Tentative List, one of the most popular touristic sites visited in Turkey.
The Sümela Monastery, colloquially known as "Mother Mary," was closed for public visits in 2015 due to the risk of falling rocks. After the first phase of renovation led by the Culture and Tourism Ministry, which cost around 11 million Turkish Liras ($1.5 million), its courtyard was reopened in May 2019.
The second phase of the renovation that covered 65 percent of the monastery ended this year, and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reopened the monastery for worship on July 28 via video-conference call.
Around 1,100 tons of rocks were evacuated from the region amid the renovation process, said the local authorities to the state-run Anadolu Agency.
In the third phase for the remaining 35 percent of the monastery's renovation is supposed to end by July 1, 2021. The cost of the second and the third phases is estimated to be around 44 million Turkish Liras ($6 million).
After the end of the renovation, authorities will apply to the UNESCO to put the monastery in the World Heritage List.