Hi! I continue to share with you the story of my trip to the amazing monastery located right on a sheer cliff in eastern Turkey. Last time, I wrote about the small town of Trabzon, where I arrived to set off to the complex. Today, I want to tell you about the intricacies of the journey to this remarkable landmark.
How to Get There
Despite the monastery being open to tourists, there isn't much information on how to get there on the internet. All I could find out is that the Sumela complex is located approximately 45 kilometers from the center of Trabzon, and you can reach it by public transport.
The first part of the route is a trip from Trabzon to the town of Maçka. You can get there by bus number 451, and the fare is 12 lira (April 2023). You can plan your trip using the Moovit app - after entering the starting and ending points of the journey, the program shows the route on the map. In most cases, you will also see the time until the bus arrives.
The bus trip to Maçka turned into a quest for me since the bus driver, on which I boarded at the terminal, gestured to me that neither cash nor bank cards are accepted here, and I need to buy a local transport card. It's not easy to find locals in Trabzon who speak English, so I had to resort to the help of an online translator. Three people directed me in different directions, but none of these places had cards for sale.
Desperate to reach the monastery, I decided to walk to the next bus stop and found a terminal there selling passes. The cost of the card is 20 lira, and the machine does not give change. Another interesting fact about Trabzon's public transport: taxi apps don't work here. I've heard many stories about being able to order a car in places like Antalya by pressing a button on a pole, while now Uber and BiTaksi work there, but here, the apps give an error - supposedly, ordering a car in this region is impossible.
After reaching Maçka, I asked a local resident how to get to the monastery by minibus. She said there were no minibusses and directed me towards a taxi.
The taxi driver offered to take me to the monastery complex, stating that the payment would be by the meter, and the final cost of the trip would be around 260 lira. After just five minutes of driving, the driver, a cheerful old man named Ali, stopped the car, asked for my camera, and captured me against the backdrop of the local mountains. During the trip, we stopped several times, and Ali showed me great spots for capturing the monastery.
Upon reaching my destination, the driver expressed willingness to wait while I walked around the monastery grounds and then take me back to Maçka. He had to wait for about half an hour, and in the end, the entire trip cost me 600 lira. Undoubtedly, by taking public transport, I could have saved a lot, but I would have missed a wonderful opportunity to stop and take photos of these places.
Here I conclude my tale of adventures on the way to the monastery. In the next post, I will show what the monastery complex looks like from the inside.
Have a nice trip!
Sumela Monastery: 1-Day Trip Budget (April 2023)
- High-speed train to Ankara - 248 lira.
- Flights from Ankara to Trabzon and then to Istanbul the next day - about 1805 lira.
- Hotel in Trabzon (5 stars) for one night for one person - 1,689 lira.
- Transport card - 20 lira, bus fare to Maçka - 12 lira.
- Taxi to the monastery and back - 600 lira.
- Entrance to the monastery - 300 lira.
- Total - 4686 lira.