A Pontic Greek monastery in Turkey’s Black Sea region is open for tourism after being restored, local authorities have said.
The Virgin Mary Monastery in Kayadibi village, located in the province of Giresun’s Sebinkarahisar district, is second only to the famous Sumela Monastery at Mela Mountain in Trabzon.
Carved into a rocky cave on a route connecting the Black Sea with central Anatolia, it is providing a second location for the growing number of tourists from Greece and Russia exploring the region’s Orthodox past.
Previously, the principal elements of the monastery complex — the church, dormitory, classroom and font — had been ruined. However, a two-year restoration project has seen some of the features restored.
For generations ethnic Greeks called Pontic Greeks lived along the shores of what is now known as the Black Sea.
However, from 1914-1923 their prosperity and peaceful way of life came to a tragic end when over 353,000 of them perished during the Greek Genocide at the hands of the Ottomans and later Turkish nationalists.
Many of the region’s Orthodox monasteries and churches were abandoned, and it is only in recent years that some religious services have been permitted by the Turkish government.