As we know, there are many cities and villages all over the world like Rome which are assumed as the religious locations and respected by faithful people. These places are also attended by those people who are interested to visit historical places and know more about them.
Trabzon city of Turkey is one of these places which are surrounded by many historical, attractive and in some cases wonderful mosques, churches and monasteries, the religious huge buildings who keep many stories and secrets in their heart for discover.
Trabzon (Turkish pronunciation: [ˈtɾabzon]), historically known as Trebizond in English, is a city on the Black Sea coast of northeastern Turkey and the capital of Trabzon Province. Trabzon, located on the historical Silk Road, became a melting pot of religions, languages and culture for centuries and a trade gateway to Persia in the southeast and the Caucasus to the northeast. The Venetian and Genoese merchants paid visits to Trebizond during the medieval period and sold silk, linen and woolen fabric. Both republics had merchant colonies within the city – Leonkastron and the former ‘Venetian castle – that played a role to Trebizond similar to the one Galata played to Constantinople (modern Istanbul). Trabzon formed the basis of several states in its long history and was the capital city of the Empire of Trebizond between 1204 and 1461. During the early modern period, Trabzon, because of the importance of its port, again became a focal point of trade to Persia and the Caucasus.
Here, we want to introduce the most attractive historical places of Trabzon to you for visit. So, please companion us:
Büyük İmaret Mosque (Hatuniye / Ayşe – Gülbahar Hatun Mosque-Center): The mosque was constructed in the name of the mother of Yavuz Sultan Selim, Ayşe – Gülbahar Hatun in 1514 inside a Külliye complex near Zagnos Bridge. This mosque holds a special place among the other Turkish Creations in Trabzon. The mosque enters into the group of “mosques with lodges of dervishes” that form a separate plan type in the early period Ottoman Architecture. The “courtyard” which is almost always encountered in the mosques with lodges of dervishes is not present in this mosque. The stonemasonry of the walls are important. The minaret located at the west side is in the classical Ottoman minaret style.
Fatih Mosque (Ortahisar Mosque – Panaghia Chrysocephalos Church-Center): The structure is known as the major church of Trabzon and is located in the Ortahisar quarter. It is assumed that the church was constructed over the ruins of an ancient Roman temple by Hanmibalianos, the nephew of Roman Emperor Constantin (A.D. 325 – 364).
The church is known as “the Cathedral of the Comnens ” and as a depiction to the Mother Mary, it was named as the “Goldenhead”. The reason for naming the church with the name “Goldenhead” is that in painting of the Mother Mary which is located on the apsis shaped semi-circle, the moiré of Mother Mary is coated with gold. After the conquest of Trabzon by Turkish forces in 1461 the structure was transformed into a mosque. Some of the researchers compare the church with the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul…
Çarşı Mosque (Center): This mosque is located in the Kemeraltı Çarşı quarter and is the biggest mosque of Trabzon province. The mosque was constructed by one of the governors of Trabzon Hazinedarzade Osman Pasha in 1839. The marvelous stonemasonry of the structure is attractive.
İskender Pasha Mosque (Center): The mosque is located behind the Trabzon Town Hall in the Taksim Square. The structure is known to be constructed in 16th century by the Governor of Trabzon İskender Pasha. Various attachments had been constructed to the mosque in various times and has a beautiful stonemasonry.
Ayasofya Church (Haghia Sophia Church-Center): The church is located inside a monastery complex which is two kilometers from west of Trabzon province. It is assumed to be constructed by the King of Commenos State I. Manuel between the dates in 1238 – 1263. The four pillared and three abscissa chapel located to the north is dated earlier than the structure.
The Hagia Sophia of the Trabzon is the most important structure of late Byzantine Period of the region. The structure was transformed into a mosque in the period of III. Murat in 1670 by Beylerbeyi Ali Bey. The structure was restored between the dates of 1958 – 1962 by the cooperation of Edinburg University and Charitable Foundations General Directorate and entered into service as a museum in 1964. The structure has a beautiful stonemasonry. It is also very rich in stone decorations and frescos.
The church has depictions as; the banishment of Adam and Eve from heaven, Mother Mary sitting on the throne, The ascend of Jesus to the sky, the birth of St. Jesus, the miracles of St. Jesus,The last supper of St. Jesus, the descend of St. Jesus to hell, the baptism, the symbols of Bible writers. The church also contains decorations like single headed eagle, unnatural creatures, geometric plant like decorations and bird figures. Especially the multi colored niches, pillar titles at the western side and the geometric patterned medallions at the northern sşide are the samples of Seljukian stone decoration art.
St. Anna Church (Küçük Ayrasıl Church-Center): The church is located on the Maraş Street of Trabzon Province and is one of the oldest churches of the province. It is actually a triple nef basilica. There is a Byzantine emboss and a repair inscription belonging to the I. Basil between the dates in 884 – 885 on the entrance gate.
Sumela Monastery (Mother Mary Monastery, Maçka): The monastery is located 17 km. from south of Maçka district on a steep side of the Mother Mary Valley, 250 meters above the valley bottom inside a cave. The monastery could only be reached after a hard and long climbing but the wonderful landscape and spectacle of the monastery worth all efforts for climbing. There are numerous rumors relevant with the initial foundation of the monastery. The most common among these rumors is that the foundation of the monastery was laid by the monk Barnabas from Athens and his nephew Sophrenios.
The Sumela Monastery had been identified with a Portrait of Mother Mary which was painted by St. Luke since the first foundation period and which is rumored to be create miracles. According to the rumors, Barnabas and his nephew comes to Trabzon having the Portrait of Mother Mary and the childhood of Jesus, which is said to be painted by St. Luke. Here they gather volunteer laborers whom would assist them in the construction of the monastery and then reach to Değirmendere (Altındere in Pyxites region) of Maçka district.
The monks climb the steepest slope of the Kora mountain and reach to a cave in which water is dripping. The monastery is then founded in this cave as two chambers (A.D. 385). This two chamber monastery founded by the two monks had been accepted as a sacred and holy temple by the Christians both from the Catholic and Orthodox sects after the death of the two monks (around year in 412). After the separation of Istanbul from Western Roman Empire, the Byzantibe Emperor Justinien (527 – 568) orders fortification of the Trabzon province and expanding of the monastery. Later he offers a rich libraryas a gift to the monastery.
As Fatih Sultan Mehmet conquered Trabzon Province in 26 October 1461, similar to his behaviours in Istanbul, he protects most of the churches in Trabzon and meanwhile the Sumela Monastery like the Hagia Sophia Church and even grant land and donate gold to the monastery.
During the reign of Yavuz Sultan Selim, the Sultan becomes ill while he was hunting and was taken and treated by the monks of Mother Mary Monastery. Whenhe returns to Istanbul and get crowned, he do not forgets the monastery and the monks that have treated and curesd him and grants land, donates gold and four golden candlesticks each having a length of one and a half meters.
III. Sultan Ahmet, had covered all of the expanses of restoration of inner walls and renewal of the frescos of the monastery in 1710. I. Sultan Mahmut had ordered the renewal of the frescos in the other sections of the monastery and covered all of the expanses in 1740. In the 19th century, the number of the monks and the priests had reached a hundred and the land property owned by the monastery had been expanded by the final donation of Sultan Abdülhamid and reached to contain 15 villages around the monastery.
The importance of the Mother Mary Monastery, which is the oldest Christian Temple in the Black Sea Region is that the unnatural structure of the monastery located in the wonderful beauties of the surrounding fauna and flora and the wall and ceiling decorations and adornments constructed in various periods. At the praying and worshipping place in the first section, there is the sacred fountain in which the water drips in as triple drops and 3 – 4 chapels. The interior and exterior sections of the Temple is decorated with frescos with themes taken from the bible. The second chamber is composed of four floors and as one descends from the stairs there are resting rooms, halls, libraries, provision storage rooms and toilets to the right. The rooms which lie şin ruins is understood to be 72 rooms from the records. Reaching tothis section of the monastery is possible via a stairway with 96 stairs. Remony is made each year in 14th of August.
Santa Maria Church (Center): The church was constructed by the order of Sultan Abdülmecid in 1869 – 1874 in order to be used by the foreigners who visit Trabzon and is still active. Rich decorations and the depictions of St. Andrew, St. Peter and St. Eugenius located on the northern and western walls are attractive.
Vazelon Monastery (Maçka): The monastery is located 14 kilometre away from Maçka district, between the pine tree forest. The exact foundation date of the monastery in uncertain but some researchers claim that the foundation of the monastery could be between A.D. 270 – 317 years. The monastery had been restored by emperor Justinianus in 565 and undergo numerous repairs and restoration processes until the present day.
The Vazelon Monastery had influenced the religious, cultural and economic structure of Maçka district after 13th century. It is said that the Sumela Monastery was constructed by the incomes of Vazelon Monastery, which was the wealthiest monastery of the region. The frescos depicting the heaven, the hell and the final judgement located at the northern exterior wall of the triple nef church still preserves their beauty and vigor.