Due to the Feast of Sacrifice holiday, the historic Sumela Monastery in Trabzon’s Maçka neighbourhood was crowded. The monastery had just six years earlier been opened to visitors. The absence of toll booths and vehicles resulted in long lineups of visitors who had to wait for hours. The tour guide, Hamdi Ylmaz, commented, “Currently, Sumela Monastery is experiencing one of its historic days. We got at the monastery in 2.5 hours.”
Sümela Monastery, one of Turkey’s important historical and religious monuments that is included on the UNESCO World Heritage Temporary List and draws thousands of local and foreign visitors, opened to the public on May 1 following six years of rehabilitation. It is situated outside of Montenegro in Trabzon’s Maçka neighbourhood. Both domestic and foreign tourists flocked to the monastery for the nine-day Feast of Sacrifice celebration.
Altndere Valley National Park visitors must pay 15 TL to park their vehicles in Trabzon Metropolitan Municipality lots. While this is going on, officials and visitors occasionally get into arguments. The monastery is 2 kilometres away and can be reached by minibus for a price of 14 TL for each person in line.
Those that get out of the minibus walk 300 metres along the woodland path till they reach the entrance to Sumela. The entrance fee to the monastery is 125 TL per person, and those who have a museum card can enter after a short wait. However, individuals without a card must wait in long queues in front of the lone ticket office.
Those who have completed their formalities here line up on the stairs to join Sumela at this time. Those who proceed from the pedestrian path to the car path in order to get at the parking area following the visit. Re-boarding passengers are taken to the parking area in the minibuses. In response, visitors griped that there weren’t enough minibuses and toll booths due to the volume of people.
Bülent Türkan, who said that he was waiting in line a lot due to the crowd, said:
“We waited in line both below and above. There is a lot of intensity but despite everything, it was nice to see the monastery.” Murat Yılmaz said, “There is chaos at the ticket office. No precautions have been taken. We waited too long. The museum is hard to enter without a card. It is also very difficult to get this card. We waited for a very full queue as we came and went. A better organization could have been made.”