7 Amazing Monasteries To Visit In Turkey

monasteries in turkey
Richard Dean
Richard Dean 
Updated

Considered part of both Western Asia and Eastern Europe, Turkey has one of the most diverse cultures in the world. It is home to many things, from civilizations to religions. The nation has an intriguing history, nature, and gorgeous countryside, making it great for a holiday vacation. Beachgoers will find themselves enjoying luxurious resorts. Visitors who want to see some interesting spots can go to the ancient ruins of Ephesus. And if your goal in visiting is to experience spiritual beauty, you are in the right place, as the country boasts some of the most famous religious sites in the world. Check out this article and see our list of amazing monasteries to visit in Turkey!

1. Mor Gabriel Monastery, Mardin

Mor Gabriel Monastery 1310596 nevit
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Nevit Dilmen used under CC BY-SA 3.0

In Southeastern Turkey, you will find the oldest well-preserved Syriac Orthodox monastery on earth. This place has a beautiful story behind its existence. An angel appeared in Simon’s (a monk) dream and instructed him to build Mor Gabriel. In 397, it was established by Simon together with another monk named Samuel. Hundreds of Christians died to defend the monastery from Mongolians who tried to destroy it 700 years ago. Today, visitors keep on coming, as it is considered one of the most sacred places after Jerusalem.

Mor Gabriel Monastery

Address: Gungoren, Gungoren Village Road No. 46, 47510 Midyat/Mardin, Turkey

Opening hours: 8:30am - 4pm (daily)

2. Soumela Monastery, Trabzon

Soumela Monastery
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bjørn Christian T... used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Sumela Monastery is a place dedicated to the Virgin Mary, which was built 1,200 meters (3,937 feet) above on a cliff within the area of the Pontic Mountains. Existing since the fourth century, this monastery must be included in the bucket list of travelers who aim to see a magical site. Behind its beauty, a tragic event had taken place here in 1930, when all the wooden parts of the monastery were destroyed. But that event does not hinder tourists from visiting. The forest around and the waterfalls only add to its grandeur.

Soumela Monastery

Address: Altındere, 61750 Maçka/Trabzon, Turkey

Website: Soumela Monastery

3. Monastery of Mor Augin, Mardin

Hauptgebäude des Klosters Mor Augin, nördliche Sicht
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user SuryoyoWriter used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Named after Saint Augin, also known as the Second Christ, Monastery of Mor Augin should definitely be added to your travel itinerary. In the southeastern part of Turkey, you will find this treasure, which was established in the fourth century. Renovation is currently under way, but you can still see its beauty. Another attraction to look out for while here is the huge bell located inside.

Monastery of Mor Augin

Address: Eskihisar, 47300 Nusaybin/Mardin, Turkey

4. Mor Hananyo Monastery, Mardin

Mor Hananyo Monastery 12
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Izabela Miszczak used under CC BY-SA 4.0

If you’re roaming around Tur Abdin, do drop by Mor Hananyo Monastery. It is an important Syriac Orthodox monastery designed with warm-colored stones. The place also has a daily service conducted by one of the two remaining monks, and he uses Aramaic for the liturgy. As you wander around, you will see the Patriarchal throne, a bible, and pulpit. Furthermore, the site had the old medical school converted into a mausoleum, featuring a wooden door decorated with lions and serpents.

Mor Hananyo Monastery

Address: Eskikale, Deyrulzafaran Yolu No. 1 D2, 47100 Artuklu/Mardin, Turkey

Website: Mor Hananyo Monastery

5. Hodegon Monastery, İstanbul

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

If you are looking for a serene place to reflect on life, then head over to Hodegon Monastery. Allegedly founded by Emperor Arcadius’s daughter, Saint Pulcheria, the site is known as one of three significant Marian foundations in Constantinople (now Istanbul). Also, another thing that makes this location worth visiting is the icon of the Hodegetria—a painting made by Saint Luke.

Hodegon Monastery

Address: Cankurtaran, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey

6. Panagia Theoskepastos Monastery, Trabzon

Trabzon Kizlar Monastery 4845
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Dosseman used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Currently subject for restoration, Panagia Theoskepastos Monastery—also known as Kizlar Monastery—is surely worth seeing. Situated on the foot of Boztepe Mountain overlooking the city of Trabzon, this awesome monastery has two protective walls with lovely terraces. Added to its spiritual beauty is the mystical and historical cave church, which is great for a photo op.

Panagia Theoskepastos Monastery

Address: Boztepe, Merkez, Mht. Coşkun Karaağaçlı Cd. No. 30, 61030 Ortahisar/Trabzon, Turkey

7. Vazelon Monastery, Trabzon

Kloster Vazelon Hauptgebaeude
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ingo Leonard used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Despite the plenty of times Vazelon Monastery has been attacked and ruined, it continues to stand as one of the most interesting places to visit in the country. Though it continues to change and renovation is still ongoing, the frescoes on the walls of its church have retained their original beauty. Surrounded by calming pine trees and the sound of a spring, this place is perfect for reflection. It is the oldest monastery in Anatolia, which makes it worth restoring indeed.

Vazelon Monastery

Address: Coşandere, Maçka Yolu No. 36, 61750 Maçka/Trabzon, Turkey

Discover amazing monasteries in Turkey

Whether you are looking for a serene place to relax, planning to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, or aiming for some spiritual reflection, these historic monasteries in Turkey offer the best places for you. Not only will you learn fascinating stories behind each structure, but you’ll also most likely leave the sites feeling a little more peaceful than when you first arrived.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Richard holds a passion for biking. When not staring at bike parts or computers, he's probably at the market, searching for some ingredients for his next secret recipe--yes, he loves experimenting....Read more

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