Having already visited the Monastery of Ostrog (Montenegro) and the spectacular Metéora complex of Greek Orthodox monasteries, both of which are perched precariously in isolated places, we were aware of the tradition typical of inaccessible Monasteries throughout the region.
With such solitude these beautiful locations are highly conducive to prayer, contemplation and meditation. They became the focus of pilgrimage; a place to turn your mind away from the distractions of the outer world and focus on discovering the profound truths of the inner world.
During the Ottoman Empire the monastery was granted the sultan's protection and given rights and privileges that were renewed by following sultans protecting it for many decades.
During the 1916-18 occupation of Trabzon the monastery was seized by the Russian Empire, then in 1923 the site was abandoned during the Turkish War of Independence.
Today the monastery is open as a tourist attraction; despite its cultural and religious significance the site draws in curious visitors who marvel at its location alone.
Unlike the perfect frescoes we witnessed at Decani monastery, the frescoes here have endured years of weathering, as well as vandalism during the times that the monastery was abandoned.
Who was Nebile Okur and what was he doing here in 1970? But it’s not just modern day graffiti, look a little harder and you’ll notice earlier and earlier dates; 1964, 1952, 1911, 1899, 1878, 1833, 1803, 1774, 1762 and the earliest we spotted 1511. The names and dates here document the times that are often unaccounted for by the history books.