WorldTurkey: After five years of work, the Sümela monastery again open to...

Turkey: After five years of work, the Sümela monastery again open to the public

AA / Trabzon (Turkey)

Sümela Monastery, built in rocks in a wooded area about 300 meters high in the valley at the foot of Montenegro overlooking the Altindere valley in the Maçka district, was closed to the public in September 2015 for risk of falling rocks.

The Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, who attended the reopening ceremony of the monastery, visited the premises and received information from the authorities about the work carried out.

At the end of the visit, Minister Ersoy told the press that the restoration work on the monastery had started in February 2016, and that it was a priority project.

He pointed out that the problem, which complicates the work other than the restoration, is the current coming from the rocky areas of the mountain. “Because it is not an environment where everyone can work. Our team of mountaineers, engineers and specialist experts, work in very difficult climatic conditions. You cannot work regularly for 12 months. We have to go to places where the winter is milder. Already, when you look up, you can see the extent of the work done, “said Minister Ersoy.

He added that very serious rock cleaning had been carried out in an area of ​​20,000 square meters and some rocks had been fixed, others removed after hard work.

– “There is another secret chapel, which will be operational in a week or two”

The Minister recalled that the Sümela monastery is a very important point for tourism in the Black Sea and Trabzon, hence its partial opening in 2019.

“We opened the first part from the entrance to that level that you can see. You know, last year we allowed access for all the places that were open before. In fact, the work we did at this point was cleaning up the other rocks as well as the places where we had never had visitors before. Either way, this will also create a separate area of ​​interest. In the new section , there are many places such as new chapels, monks’ rooms, halls, guest houses. We have also created points where we can make presentations in a digital setting. There is another secret chapel, which will be operational in a week or two. About 50 meters from the end of the monastery, after crossing the cliffs, there is a secret chapel, which we will also make operational. Frankly, I think those who have already visited will come here and visit th again and again. “, he hammered.

Minister Ersoy clarified that there are very important frescoes in different parts of the monastery, and that coloring and revitalization work is continuing in these areas.

The minister said that the fresco animation team will work permanently in the monastery.

“Unfortunately, due to the structure of this place, water and condensation occurs during seasonal transitions, which damages the frescoes. From now on, a team of experts will work here for 12 months. They will investigate, into the reasons of these phenomena, and will see how they can intervene, so that it can be useful for future generations. They will regularly correct the wear and tear caused by condensation or water currents. In this way, I think we will protect this place. permanently without having to close it again to tourists. This is a good thing for the tourist season. I hope this will bring very serious benefit to Black Sea tourism, especially Trabzon ” , he added.

– “The start of the season has been delayed in our country, but it has not opened in any country”

To a journalist’s question, “what kind of season do you foresee in tourism?” Minister Ersoy replied: “I have said it from the start, it will be a very good season compared to last year. It’s not just about our country, it’s not about a fight against the virus that concerns our country. It’s about how well the countries from which tourists come are fighting the virus and how their vaccination campaigns are progressing. “

Mehmet Nuri Ersoy also praised the good progress of vaccination in Turkey. “I hope that by the end of July, a very large part of the target audience will be vaccinated. In fact, you know, in view of the decisions adopted yesterday, I think that we will arrive at a certain collective immunity of here at the end of July with the taking of the second dose of vaccines. ”

He also clarified that: “the launch of the season has been delayed in our country, but it has not opened in any country. So we have not lost any tourists, I think it is just about a delay. Last year we closed the season with around 16 million tourists and $ 12 billion. I think if the conditions I mentioned don’t change very significantly, if a wave of the virus does occur not, both the countries where the tourists come from and ourselves continue to follow the rules and improve our position, we will end this year with 25 million tourists and more than $ 20 billion in revenue. “

The tourist season can extend until November-December, according to the tourism minister. “It is even possible that this number will increase if, as tourism professionals, we focus on doing a very intense promotion. You know, we have a weapon like the Tourism Development Agency, and we use it very good. After going from code red to green, we achieved the same booking rates as countries that received more advance bookings than us, thanks to a very intense promotion. We even started to do better than them since last week. With the extension of the season, I hope we can achieve the goals we want, if not more. “

He pointed out that linking investments to rules and system will significantly increase the share of tourism. “Tourism investments are not hundred-meter races. It’s a marathon where you have to improve. If you want to finish first in this marathon, you have to work on a system. The standards should be set by the authority. higher and everyone should manage to meet those standards. The fewer standards you set, the more you fall behind in the race. In this context, we have also made the necessary legal arrangements. This has also been adopted by the Commission and, hopefully it will enter into force soon after it is passed by parliament. Our, you know, are the foundations. One of our missing points is the tourism development agencies. We will fill those gaps as well. “

– “Promotion is the most important weapon you can use in tourism”

Minister Ersoy believed that the most important weapon that should be used in tourism is promotion.

“You can have a lot of valuable tourism assets, but if you can’t promote them, it doesn’t do much. All of your investment and potential is wasted. You have to plan for that potential properly and make sure it is invested, and you have to let the whole world know what you are doing very precisely. You know, we have another weapon called Turkish Airlines. If we are talking about Istanbul Airport, we have a point before the pandemic leaves from which we can fly directly to 330 destinations. It is one of the biggest line points in the world. Now you have to use these weapons correctly. Spreading tourism in 81 provinces, is one of the main points of our objectives 2023. We took a break during the pandemic, but we prepared our base, trained our provinces, we remained focused, ”he said.

– The Presidential Symphony Orchestra gave a concert

After the opening, the Presidential Symphony Orchestra performed on the platform set up in the parking lot located in the lower part of the monastery. The concert, conducted by Cemi’i Can Deliorman, general musical director of the Presidential Symphony Orchestra, saw the participation of mezzo soprano Zeynep Halvasi, on vocals Resul Dindar, on vocals, Reza Can Ozel, on “kémenché” and Mustafa Gokay Ferah at “touloum”.

Guests and visitors followed the concert, which lasted about 40 minutes, during which local works were performed. Besides Minister Ersoy, Trabzon Governor Ismail Ustaoglu, Metropolitan Mayor of Trabzon Murat Zorluoglu, AK Party MPs from Trabzon Bahar Ayvazoglu and Salih Cora, Mayor of Maçka Koray Kochan and Protocol Members also attended the ceremony. .

* Translated from Turkish by Alex Sinhan Bogmis

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